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^■ ^ yif M Wi ay, T >> y I 'w j y >jy ■y»;*-.#>i>0|f»**»>^V'-^ ■"■ ■, 

University of California • Berkeley 


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\^All rii^hts re served ?\ 



Silver Blaze "•• ••• ^ 

The Yellow Face 32 

The Stockbroker's Clerk 54 

The "Glorl\ Scott" 76 

The Musgrave Ritual 99 

The Reigate Squires 121 

The Crooked Man 145 

The Resident Patient ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 167 

The Greek Interpreter 191 

The Naval Treaty 214 

The Final Problem 256 

3S^ tbc same Hutbor, 
























AM afraid, Watson, that I shall have to go," said 
Holmes, as we sat down together to our breakfast ono 


" Go ! Where to ? " 

" To Dartmoor — to King's Tyland." 

I was not surprised. Indeed, my only wonder was that he had 
not already been mixed up in this extraordinary case, which was the 
one topic of conversation through the length and breadth of England. 
Eor a whole day m}' companion had rambled about the room with his 
chin upon his chest and his brows knitted, charging and re-charging 
his pipe with the strongest black tobacco, and absolutely deaf to an\' 
of my questions or remarks. Fresh editions of e\'ery paper had been 
sent up by our newsagent only to be glanced o\-er and tossed down 
into a corner. Yet, silent as he was, I knew perfectl)' well what it 
was over which he was brooding. There was but one problem before 
the public which could challenge his powers of analysis, and that was 
the singular disappearance of the favourite for the Wessex Cup and 
the tragic murder of its trainer. When, therefore, he suddenly 
announced his intention of setting out for the scene of the drama, it 
w^as only what I had both expected and hoped for. 

" I should be most happ)- to go down with }T)u if I should not be 
in the way," said I. 

" My dear Watson, you would confer a great favour upon me by 

* Copyright, 1892, in United States of America, by the Author. 


coming. And I thinl< that }()ur time will not be mis-spent, for there 
are points about this case which promise to make it an absolutely 
unique one. \Vc have, I think, just time to catch our train at 
Paddington, and I will go iurther into the matter upon our journey. 
You would oblige me b}- bringing w ith \ou }'our \ery excellent field- 

And so it happened that an hour or so later I found myself in 
the corner of a first-class carriage, flying along, en route for Exeter, 
while Sherlock Holmes, with his sharp, eager face framed in his ear- 
flapped travelling cap, dipped rapidly into the bundle of fresh papers 
which he had procured at Paddington. We had left Reading far be- 
hind us before he thrust the last of them under the seat, and oft* ed 
me his cigar case. 

" We are going well," said he, looking out of the window, and 
glancing at his watch. " Our rate at present is fift}--three and a half 
miles an hour." 

" I have not observed the quarter-mile posts," said I. 

" Nor ha\-e I. But the telegraph posts upon this line are sixty 
yards apart, and the calculation is a simple one. I presume that }'ou 
have already looked into this matter of the murder of John Straker 
and the disappearance of Silver Blaze ? " 

" I ha\"e seen what the TcIcgrapJi and the Chronicle have to 

" It is one of those cases where the art of the reasoner should be 
used rather for the sifting of details than for the acquiring of fresh 
evidence. The traged}- has been so uncommon, so complete, and of 
such personal importance to so man}- people, that we are suffering 
from a plethora of surmise, conjecture, and h)-pothesis. The difficulty 
is to detach the framework of fact — of absolute, undeniable fact — from 
the embellishments of theorists and reporters. Then, having estab- 
lished ourselves upon this sound basis, it is our dut\' to see what 
inferences may be drawn, and which are the special points upon which 
the whole m}-stcr\' turns. On 7\icsday evening I received telegrams 
both from Colonel Ross, the owner of the horse, and from Inspector 
Gregory, who is looking after the case, inviting my co-operation." 

"Tuesday evening!" I exclaimed. "And this is Thuisday 
morning. Why did you not go down yesterdaj' ? " 


" Because I made a blunder, my dear Watson — which is, I am 
afraid, a more common occurrence than anyone would think who only 
knew me throuijh your memoirs. The fact is, that I could not believe 
it possible that the most remarkable horse in England could long 
remain concealed, especially in so sparsely inhabited a place as the 
north of Dartmoor. From hour to hour yesterday I expected to hear 
that he had been found, and that his abductor was the murderer of 
John Straker. When, however, another morning had come and I 
found that, be\-ond the arrest of young Fitzroy Simpson, nothing had 


been done, I felt that it was time for me to take action. Yet in some 
ways I feel that yesterday has not been wasted." 

" You have formed a theor\' then ? " 

" At least I have a grip of the essential facts of the case. I 


shall enumerate them to )'ou, for nothing clears up a case so much as 
stating it to another person, and I can hardly expect your co- 
operation if I do not show you the position from which we start." 

I lay back against the cushions, puffing at my cigar, while 
Holmes, leaning forward, with his long, thin forefinger checking oft 
the points upon the palm of his left hand, gave me a sketch of the 
events which had led to our journe}'. 

" Silver Blaze," said he, " is from the Isonomy stock, and holds 
as brilliant a record as his famous ancestor. He is now in his fifth 
year, and has brought in turn each of the prizes of the turf to Colonel 
Ross, his fortunate owner. Up to the time of the catastrophe he was 
first favourite for the Wessex Cup, the betting being three to one on. 
He has always, however, been a prime favourite with the racing 
public, and has never yet disappointed them, so that even at short 
odds enormous sums of money have been laid upon him. It is 
obvious, therefore, that there were many people who had the strongest 
interest in preventing Silver Blaze from being there at the fall of the 
flag, next Tuesday. 

" This fact was, of course, appreciated at King's Pyland, where 
the Colonel's training stable is situated. Every precaution was taken 
to guard the favourite. The trainer, John Straker, is a retired jockey, 
who rode in Colonel Ross's colours before he became too heavy for 
the weighing chair. He has served the Colonel for five years as 
jockey, and for seven as trainer, and has always shown himself to be 
a zealous and honest serv^ant. Under him were three lads, for the 
establishment was a small one, containing only four horses in all. 
One of these lads sat up each night in the stable, while the others 
slept in the loft. All three bore excellent chatacters. John Straker, 
who is a married man, li\-ed in a small \illa about two hundred yards 
from the stables. He has no children, keeps one maid-servant, and is 
comfortably off The country round is ver}^ lonely, but about half a mile 
to the north there is a small cluster of villas which have been built by a 
Tavistock contractor for the use of invalids and others who may wish 
to enjoy the pure Dartmoor air. Tavistock itself lies two miles to 
the west, while across the moor, also about two miles distant, is the 
larger training establishment of Capleton, which belongs to Lord 
Backwater, and is managed by Silas Brown. In every other direction 


the moor is a complete wilderness, inhabited only by a few roaming 
gipsies. Such was the general situation last Monday night when the 
catastrophe occurred. 

" On that evening the horses had been exercised and watered as 
usual, and the stables were locked up at nine o'clock. Two of the 
lads walked up to the trainer's house, where they had supper in the 
kitchen, while the third, Ned Hunter, remained on guard. At a few 
minutes after nine the maid, Edith Baxter, carried down to the stables 
his supper, which consisted of a dish of curried mutton. She took no 
liquid, as there was a water-tap in the stables, and it was the rule that 
the lad on duty should drink nothing else. The maid carried a lantern 
with her, as it was very dark, and the path ran across the open moor. 



" Edith Baxter was within thirty yards of the stables when a 
man appeared out of the darkness and called to her to stop. As he 
stepped into the circle of yellow light thrown by the lantern she saw 
that he was a person of gentlemanly bearing, dressed in a grey suit of 
tweed with a cloth cap. He wore gaiters, and carried a heavy stick 
with a knob to it. She was most impressed, however, by the extreme 
pallor of his face and by the nervousness of his manner. His age, 
she thought, would be rather over thirty than under it. 

" ' Can you tell me where I am ? ' he asked. * I had almost made 
up my mind to sleep on the moor when I saw the light of your 

" ' You are close to the King's Pyland training stables,' she 

" ' Oh, indeed ! What a stroke of luck ! ' he cried. ' I understand 
that a stable boy sleeps there alone every night. Perhaps that is his 
supper which you are carrying to him. Now I am sure that you 
would not be too proud to earn the price of a new dress, would you ? ' 
He took a piece of white paper folded up out of his waistcoat pocket. 
' See that the boy has this to-night, and }-ou shall have the prettiest 
frock that money can buy.' 

" She was frightened by the earnestness of his manner, and ran 
past him to the window through which she was accustomed to hand 
the meals. It was already open, and Hunter was seated at the small 
table inside. She had begun to tell him of what had happened, when 
the stranger came up again. 

" ' Good evening,' said he, looking through the window, ' I wanted 
to have a word with you.' The girl has sworn that as he spoke she 
noticed the corner of the little paper packet protruding from his 
closed hand. 

" ' What business have you here ? ' asked the lad. 

" ' It's business that may put something into }-our pocket,' said the 
other. ' You've two horses in for the Wessex Cup — Silver Blaze and 
Bayard. Let me have the straight tip, and }'ou won't be a loser. Is 
it a fact that at the weights Bayard could give the other a hundred 
yards in fi\e furlongs, and that the stable have put their monc}- on 
him ? ' 

" ' So you're one of those damned touts,' cried the lad. ' VW shov/ 


you how we serve them in Kins^'s Pyland.' He sprang up and rushed 
across the stable to unloose the dog. The girl fled away to the 
house, but as she ran she looked back, and saw that the stranger was 
leaniny" throuHi the window. .\ minute later, howexer, when Hunter 
rushed out with the hound he was gone, and though the lad ran all 
round the buildings he failed to find any trace of him." 

" One moment ! " I asked. " Did the stable-bo\-, when he ran out 
with the dog, leave the door unlocked behind him? " 

" Excellent, Watson ; excellent ! " murmured m)- companion. 
" The importance of the point struck me so forcibl}-, that I sent a 
special wire to Dartmoor yesterday to clear the matter up. The bo\- 
locked the door before he left it. The window, I ma}' add, was not 
large enough for a man to get through. 

" Hunter waited until his fellow grooms had returned, when he 
sent a message up tcj the trainer and told him what had occurred. 
Straker was excited at hearing, the account, although he does not 
seem to have quite realized its true sigiiificancc. It left him, however, 
vaguely uneas}% and Mrs. Straker, waking at one in the morning, 
found that he was dressing. In reply to her inquiries, he said that he 
could not sleep on account of his anxiety about the horses, and that 
he intended to walk down to the stables to see that all was well. She 
begged him to remain at home, as she could hear the rain pattering 
against the windows, but in spite of her entreaties he pulled on his 
large mackintosh and left the house. 

" Mrs. Straker awoke at seven in the morning, to fiisd that her 
husband had not yet returned. She dressed herself hastily, called the 
maid, and set off for the stables. The door was open ; inside, huddled 
together upon a chair. Hunter was sunk in a state of absolute stupor, 
the favourite's stall was empt\-, and there were no signs of his 

" The two lads who slept in the chaff-cutting loft above the 
harness-room were quick!}- aroused. They had heard nothing during 
the night, for they are both s(nmd sleepers. Hunter was ob\iousl}- 
under the influence of some powerful drug ; and, as no sense could be 
got out of him, he was left to sleep it off while the two lads and the 
two women ran out in search of the absentees. The}- still had hopes 
that the trainer had for some reason taken out the horse for early 


exercise, but on ascending the knoll near the house, from which all 
the neighbouring moors were visible, they not only could see no signs 
of the favourite, but they perceived something which warned them 
that they were in the presence of a tragedy. 

"About a quarter of a mile from the stables, John Straker's over- 
coat was flapping from a furze bush. Immediately beyond there was 
a bowl-shaped depression in the moor, and at the bottom of this was 
found the dead body of the unfortunate trainer. His head had been 

shattered by a 
savage blow from 
some heavy 
weapon, and he 
was wounded in 
the thigh, where 
there was a long, 
clean cut, inflicted 
evidently by some 
very sharp instru- 
ment. It was 
clear, however, 
that Straker had 
defended himself 

against his assailants, for in his right hand he held a small knife, 
which was clotted with blood up to the handle, while in his left he 
grasped a red and black silk cravat, which was recognised b}- the 



maid as having been worn on the preceding evening by the stranger 
who had visited the stables. 

" Hunter, on recovering from his stupor, was also quite positive 
as to the ownership of the cravat. He was equally certain that the 
same stranger had, while standing at the window, drugged his curried 
mutton, and so deprived the stables of their watchman. 

" As to the missing horse, there were abundant proofs in the mud 
which lay at the bottom of the fatal hollow, that he had been there 
at the time of the struggle. But from that morning he has dis- 
appeared; and, although a large reward has been offered, and all 
the gipsies of Dartmoor are on the alert, no news has come of him. 
Finally, an analysis has shown that the remains of his supper, left by 
the stable lad, contain an appreciable quantity of powdered opium, 
while the people of the house partook of the same dish on the same 
night without any ill effect. 

" Those are the main facts of the case, stripped of all surmise 
and stated as baldly as possible. I shall now recapitulate what the 
police have done in the matter. 

" Inspector Gregory, to whom the case has been committed, is an 
extremely competent officer. Were he but gifted with imagination 
he might rise to great heights in his profession. On his arrival he 
promptly found and arrested the man upon whom suspicion naturally 
rested. There was little difficulty in finding him, for he was 
thoroughly well known in the neighbourhood. His name, it appears, 
was Fitzroy Simpson. He was a man of excellent birth and education, 
who had squandered a fortune upon the turf, and who lived now by 
doing a little quiet and genteel bookmaking in the sporting clubs of 
London. An examination of liis betting-book shows that bets to 
the amount of five thousand pounds had been registered by him 
against the favourite. 

" On being arrested, he volunteered the statement that he had 
come down to Dartmoor in the hope of getting some information 
about the King's Pyland horses, and also about Desborough, the 
second favourite, which was in charge of Silas Brown, at the Capleton 
stables. He did not attempt to deny that he had acted as described 
upon the evening before, but declared that he had no sinister designs, 
and had simply wished to obtain first-hand information. When con- 


fronted with the cravat he turned very pale, and was utterly unable to 
account for its presence in the hand of the murdered man. His wet 
clothing showed that he had been out in the storm of the night before, 
and his stick, which was a Penang law}'er, weighted with lead, was just 
such a weapon as might, b}^ repeated blows, have inflicted the terrible 
injuries to which the trainer had succumbed. 

" On the other hand, there was no wound upon his person, while 
the state of Straker's knife would show that one, at least, of his 
assailants must bear his mark upon him. There you ha\e it all in a 
nutshell, Watson, and if }'ou can give me any light I shall be infinitely 
obliged to you." 

I had listened with the greatest interest to the statement which 
Holmes, with characteristic clearness, had laid before me. Though 
most of the facts were familiar to me, I had not sufficiently appreciated 
their relative importance, nor their connection with each other. 

" Is it not possible," I suggested, " that the incised wound upon 
Straker may have been caused by his own knife in the convulsi\c 
struggles which follow any brain injury?" 

"■ It is more than possible ; it is probable," said Holmes. " In 
that case, one of the main points in favour of the accused disappears." 

" And yet," said I, " even now I fail to understand what the theory 
of the police can be." 

" I am afraid that whatever theor}^ we state has very grave objec- 
tions to it," returned my companion. " The police imagine, I take it, 
that this Fitzroy Simpson, having drugged the lad, and having in 
some way obtained a duplicate key, opened the stable door, and took 
out the horse, with the intention apparently of kidnapping him alto- 
gether. His bridle is missing, so that Simpson must have put it on. 
Then, having left the door open behind him, he was leading the horse 
away over the moor, when he was either met or overtaken by the 
trainer. A row naturally ensued, Simpson beat out the trainer's 
brains with his heavy stick without receiving an\- injury from the 
small knife which Straker used in self-defence, and then the thief 
either led the horse on to some secret hiding-place, or else it ma\' ha\c 
bolted during the struggle, and be now wandering out on the moors. 
That is the case as it apjjcars to the police, and improbable as it is, 
all other explanations are more improbable still. Mowc\cr, I shall 



very quickly test the matter when I am once upon the spot, and until 
then I really cannot see how we can get much further than our 
present position." 

It was evening before we reached the little town of Tavistock, 
which lies, like the boss of a shield, in the middle of the huge circle 
of Dartmoor. Two gentlemen were awaiting us at the station ; the 
one a tall, fair man with lion-like hair and beard, and curiously 
penetrating light-blue eyes, the other a small alert person, very neat 
and dapper, in a frock-coat and gaiters, with trim little side-whiskers 
and an eye-glass. The latter was Colonel Ross, the well-known 
sportsman, the other Inspector Gregory, a man who was rapidly 
making his name in the English detective service. 

" I am delighted that }^ou have come down, Mr. Holmes," said 
the Colonel. "The Inspector here has done all that could possibly 


\ i 



be suggested ; but I wish to leave no stone unturned in trying to 
avenge poor Straker, and in recovering my horse." 

" Have there been any fresh developments ? " asked Holmes. 

" I am sorry to say that we have made very little progress," said 
the Inspector. " We have an open carriage outside, and as you would 
no doubt like to see the place before the light fails, we might talk it 
over as we drive." 

A minute later we were all seated in a comfortable landau and 
were rattling through the quaint old Devonshire town. Inspector 
Gregory was full of his case, and poured out a stream of remarks, 
while Holmes threw in an occasional question or interjection. 
Colonel Ross leaned back with his arms folded and his hat tilted over 
his eyes, while I listened with interest to the dialogue of the two 
detectives. Gregory was formulating his theory, which was almost 
exactly what Holmes had foretold in the train. 

" The net is drawn pretty close round Fitzroy Simpson," he 
remarked, " and I believe myself that he is our man. At the same 
time, I recognise that the evidence is purely circumstantial, and that 
some new development may upset it." 

" How about Straker's knife ? " 

" We have quite come to the conclusion that he wounded himself 
in his fall." 

" My friend Dr. XA'atson made that suggestion to me as we 
came down. If so, it would tell against this man Simpson." 

" Undoubtedly. He has neither a knife nor any sign of a wound. 
The evidence against him is certainly very strong. He had a great 
interest in the disappearance of the favourite, he lies under the 
suspicion of having poisoned the stable bo}', he was undoubtedly out 
in the storm, he was armed with a heavy stick, and his cravat was 
found in the dead man's hand. I really think we have enough to go 
before a jury. " 

Holmes shook his head. " A clever counsel would tear it all to 
rags," said he. " Why should he take the horse out of the stable? It 
he wished to injure it, why could he not do it there ? Has a duplicate 
key been found in his possession ? What chemist sold him the 
]j()\\(lcrcd opium? Above all, where could he, a stranger to the 
district, hide a horse, and such a horse as this? What is his own 


explanation as to the paper which he wished the maid to give to the 
stable-boy ? " 

" He says that it was a ten-pound note. One was found in his 
purse. But your other difficulties are not so formidable as they seem. 
He is not a stranger to the district. He has twice lodged at Tavistock 
in the summer. The opium was probably brought from London. 
The key, having served its purpose, would be hurled away. The 
horse may lie at the bottom of one of the pits or old mines upon the 

" What does he say about the cravat ? " 

" He acknowledges that it is his, and declares that he had lost it. 
But a new element has been introduced into the case which may 
account for his leading the horse from the stable." 

Holmes pricked up his ears. 

" We have found traces which show that a party of gipsies 
encamped on Monday night within a mile of the spot where the 
murder took place. On Tuesday they were gone. Now, presuming 
that there was some understanding between Simpson and these 
gipsies, might he not have been leading the horse to them when he 
was overtaken, and may they not have him now ? " 

" It is certainly possible." 

" The moor is being scoured for these gipsies. I have also 
examined every stable and outhouse in Tavistock, and for a radius of 
ten miles." 

" There is another training stable quite close, I understand ? " 

" Yes, and that is a factor which we must certainly not neglect. 
As Desborough, their horse, was second in the betting, they had an 
interest in the disappearance of the favourite. Silas Brown, the 
trainer, is known to have had large bets upon the event, and he was 
no friend to poor Straker. We have, however, examined the stables, 
and there is nothing to connect him with the affair." 

" And nothing to connect this man Simpson with the interests of 
the Capleton stables ? " 

" Nothing at all." 

Holmes leaned back in the carriage and the conversation ceased. 
A few minutes later our driver pulled up at a neat little red-brick villa 
with overhanging caves, which stood by the road. Some distance off, 


across a paddock, la}' a long, grey-tiled out-building. In every other 
direction the low cur\-es of the moor, bronze-coloured from the fading 
ferns, stretched away to the sky-line, broken only by the steeples of 
Tayistock, and by a cluster of houses away to the westward, which 
marked the Capleton stables. We all sprang out with the exception 
of Holmes, who continued to lean back with his eyes fixed upon the 
sky in front of him, entirely absorbed in his own thoughts. It was 
onl}- when I touched his arm that he roused himself with a violent 
start and stepped out of the carriage. 

" Excuse me," said he, turning to Colonel Ross, who had looked 
at him in some surprise. " I was day-dreaming." There was a gleam 
in his eyes and a suppressed excitement in his manner which convinced 
me, used as I was to his ways, that his hand Vv-as upon a clue, though 
I could not imagine where he had found it. 

" Perhaps you would prefer at once to go on to the scene of the 
crime, Mr. Holmes ? " said Gregory. 

" I think that I should prefer to sta)' here a little and go into one 
or two questions of detail. Straker was brought back here, I 
presume ? " 

" Yes, he lies upstairs. The inquest is to-morrow\" 

" He has been in your service some years, Colonel Ross ? " 

" I have always found him an excellent servant." 

" I presume that you made an inventory of what he had in his 
pockets at the time of his death. Inspector ? " 

" I have the things themselves in the sitting-room if you would 
care to see them." 

" I should be very glad." 

We all filed into the front room and sat round the central table, 
while the Inspector unlocked a square tin box and laid a small heap 
of things before us. There was a box of vestas, two inches of tallow 
candle, an A.D.r. briar-root pipe, a pouch of sealskin with half an ounce 
of long-cut Cavendish, a silver watch with a gold chain, five sovereigns 
in gold, an aluminium pencil-case, a few papers, and an ivorv'-handled 
knife with a ver}- delicate inflexible blade marked Weiss and Co., 

" This is a very singular knife," said Holmes, lifting it up and 
examining it minutely. " I presume, as I see bloodstains upon it. that 


it is the one which was found in the dead man's grasp. Watson, this 
knife is sure!}- in )-our hne." 

" It is what we call a cataract knife," said I. 

" I thought so. A very deHcate blade devised for very dehcate 
work. A strange thing for a man to carry with him upon a rough 
expedition, especially as it would not shut in his pocket." 

" The tip was guarded by a disc of cork which we found beside 
his body," said the Inspector. " His wite tells us that the knife had 
lain for some days upon the dressing-table, and that he had picked it 
up as he left the room. It was a poor weapon, but perhaps the best 
that he could lay his hand on at the moment." 

" Very possibU'. How about these papers ? " 

" Three of them are receipted hay-dealers' accounts. One of 
them is a letter of instructions from Colonel Ross. This other is a 
milliner's account for thirt}'-seven pounds fifteen, made out by Madame 
Lesurier, of Bond Street, to William Darbyshire. Mrs. Straker tells 
us that Darbyshire was a friend of her husband's, and that occasionally 
his letters were addressed here." 

" Madame Darbyshire had some\\hat expensive tastes," remarked 
Holmes, glancing down the account. " Twenty-two guineas is rather 
heavy for a single costume. However, there appears to be nothing 
more to learn, and we may now go clown to the scene of the crime." 

As we emerged from the sitting-room a woman, who had been 
waiting in the passage, took a step forward and laid her hand upon 
the Inspector's sleeve. Her face was haggard, and thin, and eager ; 
stamped with the print of a recent horror. 

" Have you got them ? Have you found them ? " she panted. 

" No, Mrs. Straker ; but Mr. Holmes, here, has come from London 
to help us, and we shall do all that is possible." 

" Surely I met }'ou in Plymouth, at a garden party, some little 
time ago, Mrs. Straker," said Holmes. 

" No, sir ; }'OU are mistaken." 

" Dear me ; why, I could have sworn to it. You wore a costume 
of dove-coloured silk, with ostrich feather trimming." 

" I never had such a dress, sir," answered the lady. 

" Ah ; that quite settles it," .said Holmes ; and, with an apologj^ 
he followed the Inspector outside. A short walk across the moor 




took us to the hollow in which the body had been found. At 
the brink of it was the furze bush upon which the coat had been 

"There was no wind that night, I understand," said Holmes. 

" None ; but very heavy rain." 

" In that case the overcoat was not blown against the furze 
bushes, but placed there." 

" Yes, it was laid across the bush." 

" You fill me with interest. I perceive that the ground has been 
trampled up a good deal. No doubt many feet have been there since 
Monday night." 

" A piece of matting has been laid here at the side, and we have 
all stood upon that." 



" In this bag I have one of the boots which Straker wore, one of 
Fitzroy Simpson's shoes, and a cast horseshoe of Silver Blaze." 

"My dear Inspector, you surpass yourself!" Holmes took the 
bag, and descending into the hollow he pushed the matting into a 
more central position. Then stretching himself upon his face and 
leaning his chin upon his hands he made a careful study of the 
trampled mud in front of him, 

" Halloa ! " said he, suddenly, " what's this ? " 

It was a wax vesta, half burned, which was so coated with mud 
that it looked at first like a little chip of wood. 

" I cannot think how I came to overlook it," said the Inspector, 
with an expression of annoyance. » 

" It was invisible, buried in the mud. I only saw it because I was 
looking for it." 

" What ! You expected to find it ? " 

" I thought it not unlikely." He took the boots from the bag 
and compared the impressions of each of them with marks upon the 
ground. Then he clambered up to the rim of the hollow and crawled 
about among the ferns and bushes. 

" I am afraid that there are no more tracks," said the Inspector, 
" I have examined the ground very carefully for a hundred yards in 
each direction." 

" Indeed ! " said Holmes, rising, " I should not have the 
impertinence to do it again after what you say. But I should like to 
take a little walk over the moors before it grows dark, that I may 
know my ground to-morrow, and I think that I shall put this horse- 
shoe into my pocket for luck." 

Colonel Ross, who had shown some signs of impatience at 
my companion's quiet and systematic method of work, glanced at 
his watch. 

" I wish you would come back with me, Inspector," said he. 
" There are several points on which I should like your advice, and 
especially as to whether we do not owe it to the public to remove our 
horse's name from the entries for the Cup." 

" Certainly not," cried Holmes, with decision : " I should let the 
name stand." 


The Colonel bowed. " I am very glad to have had your opinion, 
sir," said he. " You will find us at poor Straker's house when you 
have finished your walk, and wc can drive together into Tavistock." 

He turned back with the Inspector, while Holmes and I walked 
slowly across the moor. The sun was beginning to sink behind the 
stables of Capleton, and the long, sloping plain in front of us was 
tinged with gold, deepening into rich, ruddy brown where the faded 
ferns and brambles caught the evening light. But the glories of the 
landscape were all wasted upon my companion, who was sunk in the 
deepest thought. 

" It's this wa}', Watson," he said at last. " We may leave the 
question of who killed John Straker for the instant, and confine 
ourselves to finding out what has become of the horse. Now 
supposing that he broke away during or after the tragedy, where 
could he have gone to? The horse is a very gregarious creature. If 
left to himself his instincts would have been either to return to King's 
Pyland, or go over to Capleton. Why should he run wild upon the 
moor ? He would surely have been seen by now. And why should 
gipsies kidnap him ? These people always clear out when they hear 
of trouble, for they do not wish to be pestered by the police. They 
could not hope to sell such a horse. They would run a great risk 
and gain nothing by taking him. Surely that is clear." 

" Where is he, then ? " 

" I have already said that he must have gone to King's Pyland 
or to Capleton. He is not at King's Pyland, therefore he is at 
Capleton. Let us take that as a working hypothesis and see what it 
leads us to. This part of the moor, as the Inspector remarked, is 
very hard and dry. But it falls away towards Capleton, and \-ou can 
see from here that there is a long hollow over yonder, which must 
have been very wet on Monday night. If our supposition is correct, 
then the horse must have crossed that, and there is the point where 
we should look for his tracks." 

We had been walking briskly during this conversation, and a few 
more minutes brought us to the hollow in question. At Holmes' 
request I walked down the bank to the right and he to the left, but I 
had not taken fifty paces before I heard him give a shout, and saw 
him waving his hand to me. The track of a horse was plainly out- 


lined in the soft earth in front of him, and the shoe which he took 
from his pocket exactly fitted the impression. 

" See the value of imagination," said Holmes. " It is the one 
quality which Gregory lacks. We imagined what might have hap- 
pened, acted upon the supposition, and find ourselves justified. Let 
us proceed." 

We crossed the marshy bottom and passed over a quarter of a 
mile of dry, hard turf. Again the ground sloped and again we came 
on the tracks. Then we lost them for half a mile, but only to pick 
them up once more quite close to Capleton. It was Holmes who saw 
them first, and he stood pointing with a look of triumph upon his face. 
A man's track was visible beside the horse's. 

" The horse was alone before," I cried. 

" Quite so. It was alone before. Halloa, what is this ? " 

The double track turned sharp off and took the direction of 
King's Pyland. Holmes whistled, and we both followed along after 
it. His eyes were on the trail, but I happened to look a little to one 
side, and saw to my surprise the same tracks coming back again in 
the opposite direction. 

" One for you, Watson," said Holmes, when I pointed it out ; " you 
have saved us a long walk which would have brought us back on our 
own traces. Let us follow the return track." 

We had not to go far. It ended at the paving of asphalt which 
led up to the gates of the Capleton stables. As we approached a 
groom ran out from them. 

" We don't want any loiterers about here," said he. 

" I only wish to ask a question," said Holmes, with his finger and 
thumb in his waistcoat pocket. " Should I be too early to see your 
master, Mr. Silas Brown, if I were to call at five o'clock to-morrow 
morning ? " 

" Bless you, sir, if anyone is about he will be, for he is always 
the first stirring. But here he is, sir, to answer your questions for 
himself No, sir, no ; it's as much as my place is worth to let him see 
me touch your money. Afterwards, if }-ou like." 

As Sherlock Holmes replaced the half-crown which he had 
drawn from his pocket, a fierce-looking, elderl)- man strode out from 
the gate with a hunting-crop swinging in his hand. 



" What's this, Dawson ? " he cried. " No gossiping ! Go about 
your business ! And you — what the devil do you want here? " 

" Ten minutes' talk with you, my good sir," said Holmes, in the 
sweetest of voices. 

" I've no time to talk to every gadabout. We want no strangers 
here. Be off, or you may find a dog at your heels." 



Holmes leaned forward and whispered something m the trainer's 
ear. He started violently and flushed to the temples. 
" It's a lie ! " he shouted. " An infernal lie ! " 


" Very good ! Shall we argue about it here in public, or talk it 
over in your parlour ? " 

" Oh, come in if you wish to." 

Holmes smiled. " I shall not keep you more than a few minutes, 
Watson," he said. " Now, Mr. Brown, I am quite at your disposal." 

It was quite twenty minutes, and the reds had all faded into 
greys before Holmes and the trainer reappeared. Never have I seen 
such a change as had been brought about in Silas Brown in that short 
time. His face was ashy pale, beads of perspiration shone upon his 
brow, and his hands shook until the hunting-crop wagged like a branch 
in the wind. His bullying, overbearing manner was all gone too, and 
he cringed along at my companion's side like a dog with its master. 

" Your instructions will be done. It shall be done," said he. 

" There must be no mistake," said Holmes, looking round at him 
The other winced as he read the menace in his eyes. 

"Oh, no, there shall be no mistake. It shall be there. Should I 
change it first or not ? " 

Holmes thought a little and then burst out laughing. " No, 
don't," said he. " I shall write to }-ou about it. No tricks now or " 

" Oh, )'ou can trust me, you can trust me ! " 

" You must see to it on the day as if it were )'our own." 

" You can rcl}' upon me." 

" Yes, I think I can. Well, you shall hear from me to-morrow." 
He turned upon his heel, disregarding the trembling hand which the 
other held out to him, and we set off for King's Pyland. 

" A more perfect compound of the bully, coward and sneak than 
Master Silas Brown I have seldom met with," remarked Holmes, as 
we trudged along together. 

" He has the horse, then ? " 

" He tried to bluster out of it, but I described to him so exactly 
what his actions had been upon that morning, that he is convinced 
that I was watching him. Of course, you observed the peculiarly 
square toes in the impressions, and that his own boots exactly corre- 
sponded to them. Again, of course, no subordinate would have dared 
to have done such a thing. I described to him how when, according 
to his custom, he was the first down, he perceived a strange horse 
wandering over the moor ; how he went out to it, and his astonish- 


mcnt at recognising from the white forehead which has given the 
favourite its name that chance had put in his power the only horse 
which could beat the one upon which he had put his money. Then I 
described how his first impulse had been to lead him back to King's 
Pyland, and how the devil had shown him how he could hide the 
horse until the race was over, and how he had led it back and con- 
cealed it at Capleton. When I told him every detail he gave it up, 
and thought onh' of saving his own skin." 

" But his stables had been searched." 

" Oh, an old horse-faker like him has many a dodge." 

" But are )'ou not afraid to Iea\-e the horse in his power now, since 
he has every interest in injuring it ? " 

"My dear fellow, he will guard it as the apple of his eye. He 
knows that his only hope of mercy is to produce it safe." 

" Colonel Ross did not impress me as a man who would be likely 
to show much mercy in aiu- case." 

" The matter does not rest with Colonel Ross. I follow my own 
methods, and tell as much or as little as I choose. That is the 
advantage of being unofficial. I don't know \\hethcr }-ou observed it. 
Watson, but the Colonel's manner has been just a trifle ca\-alier to me, 
I am inclined now to have a little amusement at his expense. Sa}' 
nothing to him about the horse." 

" Certainly not, without your permission.'' 

" And, of course, this is all quite a minor case compared with 
the question of who killed John Straker." 

" And you will devote yourself to that ? " 

" On the contrary, we both go back to London b}- the night 

I was thunderstruck by my friend's words. We had only been 
a few hours in Devon.shire, and that he should give up an investiga- 
tion which he had begun so brilliantly was quite incomprehensible to 
me. Not a word more could I draw from him until we were back at 
the trainer's house. The Colonel and the Inspector were awaiting us 
in the parlour. 

" My friend and I return to town by the midnight express," said 
Holmes. " We have had a charming little breath of )'our beautiful 
Dartmoor air." 


The Inspector opened his eyes, and the Colonel's lip curled in a 

" So you despair of arresting the murderer of poor Straker," 
said he. 

Holmes shrugged his shoulders. " There are certainly grave 
difficulties in the way," said he. " I have every hope, however, that 
your horse will start upon Tuesday, and I beg that you will have your 
jockey in readiness. Might I ask for a photograph of Mr. John 
Straker ? " 

The Inspector took one from an envelope in his pocket and 
handed it to him. 

"My dear Gregory, you anticipate all vay wants. If I might ask 
you to wait here for an instant, I have a question which I should like 
to put to the maid." 

" I must sa}' that I am rather disappointed in our London 
consultant," said Colonel Ross, bluntly, as my friend left the room 
' I do not see that we are any further than when he came." 

" At least, you have his assurance that your horse will run," said I. 

" Yes, I have his assurance," said the Colonel, with a shrug of 
his shoulders. " I should prefer to have the horse." 

I was about to make some reply in defence of xny friend, when 
he entered the room again. 

" Now, gentlemen," said he, " I am quite read}' for Tavistock." 

As we stepped into the carriage one of the stable-lads held the 
door open for us. A sudden idea seemed to occur to Holmes, for 
he leaned forward and touched the lad upon the sleeve. 

" You have a few sheep in the paddock," he said. " Who attends 
to them ? " 

" I do, sir." 

" Have }'ou noticed anything amiss with them of late ? " 

" Well, sir, not of much account ; but three of them have gone 
lame, sir." 

I could see that Holmes was extremely pleased, for he chuckled 
and rubbed his hands together. 

" A long shot, Watson ; a very long shot ! " said he, pinching my 
arm. " Gregory, let me recommend to your attention this singular 
epidemic among the sheep. Drive on, coachman ! " 




Colonel Ross still wore an expression which showed the poor 
opinion which he had formed of my companion's abiht}', but I saw by 
the Inspector's face that his attention had been keenl}' aroused. 

" You consider that to be important ? " he asked. 

" Exceedingly so." 

" Is there any other point to which }'OU would wish to draw my 
attention ? " 

" To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." 

" The dog did nothing in the night-time." 

" That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes. 

Four days later Holmes and I were again in the train bound for 
Winchester, to see the race for the Wessex Cup. Colonel Ross met 
us, by appointment, outside the station, and we drove in his drag to 


the course beyond the town. His face was gtave and his manner was 
cold in the extreme. 

" I have seen nothing of my horse," said he. 

" I suppose that you would know him when you saw him ? " 
asked Holmes. 

The Colonel was very angr}\ " I have been on the turf for 
twenty years, and never was asked such a question as that before," 
said he. " A child would know Silver Blaze with his white forehead 
and his mottled off fore leg." 

" How is the betting ? " 

" Well, that is the curious part of it. You could have got fifteen 
to one yesterday, but the price has become shorter and shorter, until 
you can hardly get three to one now." 

" Hum ! " said Holmes. " Somebody knows something, that is 
clear ! " 

As the drag drew up in the inclosure near the grand stand, I 
glanced at the card to see the entries. It ran :— 

Wessex Plate. 50 sovs. each, h ft, ^vith i,cx)o sovs. added, for four and five- 
year olds. Second ^300. Third ^200. New course (one mile and five furlongs). 

1. Mr. Heath Newton's The Negfro (red cap, cinnamon jacket). 

2. Colonel Wardlaw's Pugilist (pink cap, blue and black jacket). 

3. Lord Backwater's Desborough (yellow cap and sleeves). 

4. Colonel Ross's Silver Blaze (black cap, red jacket). 

5. Duke of Balmoral's Iris (yellow and black stripes). 

6. Lord Singleford's Rasper (purple cap, black sleeves). 

" We scratched our other one and put all hopes on your word," 
said the Colonel. " Why, what is that ? Silver Blaze favourite ? " 

" Five to four against Silver Blaze ! " roared the ring. " Five to 
four against Silver Blaze ! Fifteen to five against Desborough ! Five 
to four on the field ! " 

" There are the numbers up," I cried. " They are all six there." 

" All six there ! Then my horse is running," cried the Colonel, 
in great agitation. " But I don't see him. My colours have not 

" Only five have passed. This must be he." 

As I spoke a powerful bay horse swept out from the weighing 
inclosure and cantered past us, bearing on its back the well-known 
black and red of the Colonel. 

" That's not my horse," cried the owner. " That beast has not a 


white hair upon its body. What is this that \-ou ha\e done, Mr. 
Holmes ? " 

" \\'ell, well, let us see how he gets on," said m}' friend, imper- 
turbabl}-. For a {qw minutes he gazed through m\' field-glass. 
'' Capital ! An excellent start ! " he cried suddenh-. " There they 
are, coming round the curve ! " 

From our drag we had a superb \-iew as they came up the 
straight. The six horses were so close together that a carpet could 
have covered them, but half way up the yellow of the Capleton stable 
showed to the front. Before they reached us, however, Desborough's 
bolt was shot, and the Colonel's horse, coming awa}' with a rush, 
passed the post a good six lengths before its ri\al, the Duke of 
Balmoral's Iris making a bad third. 

" It's my race anyhow." gasped the Colonel, passing his hand 
over his eyes. " I confess that I can make neither head nor tail of 
it. Don't }-ou think that }-ou ha\-e kept up }'our m}-stery long 
enough, Mr. Holmes?" 

" Certain 1\-, Colonel. You shall know ever}-thing. Let us all go 
round and have a look at the together. Here he is," he con- 
tinued, as we made our way into the weighing inclosure where only 
owners and their friends find admittance. " You have only to wash 
his face and his leg in spirits of wine and you will find that he is the 
same old Silver Blaze as ever." 

" You take my breath away ! " 

" I found }iim in the hands of a faker, and took the liberty of 
running him just as he was sent over." 

" My dear sir, }-ou have done wonders. The horse looks very fit 
and well. It never went better in its life. I owe }'ou a thousand 
apologies for having doubted your ability. You have done me a great 
service by recovering my horse. You would do me a greater still if 
you could lay your hands on the murderer of John Straker." 

" I have done so," said Holmes, quieth-. 

The Colonel and I stared at him in amazement. " You have got 
him ! Where is he, then ? " 

" He is here." 

" Here ! Where ? " 

" In my compan\- at the present moment." 



The Colonel flushed angrih'. '' I quite recognise that I am under 
obligations to }ou, Mr. Holmes," said he, " but I must regard what you 
have just said as either a \-ery bad joke or an insult." 

Sherlock Holmes laughed. " I assure vou that I have not asso- 
ciated you with the crime. Colonel," said he ; " the real murderer is 
standing immediately behind you ! " 

He stepped past and laid his hand upon the glossy neck of the 




" The horse ! " cried both the Colonel and myself. 

" Yes, the horse. And it may lessen his guilt if I say that it was 
done in self-defence, and that John Straker was a man who was 
entirely unworthy of your confidence. But there goes the bell ; and 
as I stand to win a little on this next race, I shall defer a more 
lengthy explanation until a more fitting time." 

We had the corner of a Pullman car to ourselves that evening as 
we whirled back to London, and I fancy that the journey was a short 
one to Colonel Ross as well as to myself, as we listened to our 
companion's narrative of the events which had occurred at the 
Dartmoor training stables upon that Monday night, and the means by 
which he had unravelled them. 

" 1 confess," said he, " that any theories which I had formed from 
the newspaper reports were entirely erroneous. And yet there were 
indications there, had they not been overlaid by other details which 
concealed their true import. I went to Devonshire with the conviction 
that Fitzroy Simpson was the true culprit, although, of course, I saw 
that the evidence against him was by no means complete. 

"It was while I was in the carriage, jiist as we reached the 
trainer's house, that the immense significance of the curried mutton 
occurred to me. You may remember that I was distrait, and 
remained sitting after you had all alighted. I was marvelling in my 
own mind how I could possibly have overlooked so obvious a clue." 

" I confess," said the Colonel, " that even now I cannot see how 
it helps us." 

" It was the first link in my chain of reasoning. Powdered 
opium is by no means tasteless. The flavour is not disagreeable, but 
it is perceptible. Were it mixed with any ordinary dish, the eater 
would undoubtedly detect it, and would probably eat no more. A 
curry was exactly the medium which would disguise this taste. By 
no possible supposition could this stranger, Fitzroy Simpson, have 
caused curry to be served in the trainer's family that night, and 
it is surely too monstrous a coincidence to suppose that he happened 
to come along with powdered opium upon the very night when a dish 
happened to be served which would disguise the flavour. That is 
unthinkable. Therefore Simpson becomes eliminated from the case, 
and our attention centres upon Straker and his wife, the only twc 


people who couid have chosen curried mutton for supper that night. 
The opium was added after the ch'sh was set aside for the stable-boy, 
for the others had the same for supper with no ill effects. Which of 
them, then, had access to that dish without the maid seeing them ? 

" Before deciding that question I had grasped the significance of 
the silence of the dog, for one true inference invariably suggests 
others. The Simpson incident had shown me that a dog was kept in 
the stables, and yet, though someone had been in and had fetched out 
a horse, he had not barked enough to arouse the two lads in the loft. 
Obviously the midnight visitor was someone whom the dog knew 

" I was already convinced, or almost convinced, that John Straker 
went down to the stables in the dead of the night and took out 
Silver Blaze. For what purpose ? For a dishonest one, obviously, 
or why should he drug his own stable-boy ? And yet I was at a loss 
to know why. There have been cases before now where trainers have 
made sure of great sums of money by laying against their own horses, 
through agents, and then preventing them from winning by fraud. 
Sometimes it is a pulling jockey. Sometimes it is some surer and 
subtler means. What was it here ? I hoped that the contents of his 
pockets might help me to form a conclusion. 

" And they did so. You cannot have forgotten the singular knife 
which was found in the dead man's hand, a knife which certainly no 
sane man would choose for a weapon. It was, as Dr. Watson told us, 
a form of knife which is used for the most delicate operations known 
in surgery. And it was to be used for a delicate operation that night. 
You must know, with your wide experience of turf matters, Colonel 
Ross, that it is possible to make a slight nick upon the tendons of a 
horse's ham, and to do it subcutaneously so as to leave absolutely no 
trace. A horse so treated would develop a slight lameness which 
would be put down to a strain in exercise or a touch of rheumatism, 
but never to foul pla}-." 

" Villain ! Scoundrel ! " cried the Colonel. 

" We have here the explanation of why John Straker wished to 
take the horse out on to the moor. So spirited a creature would have 
certainly roused the soundest of sleepers when it felt the prick of the 
knife. It was absolutely necessary to do it in the open air." 


" I have been blind ! " cried the Colonel. " Of course, that was 
why he needed the candle and struck the match." 

" Undoubtedly. But in examining his belongings, I was fortunate 
enough to discover, not only the method of the crime, but even its 
motives. As a man of the world. Colonel, you know that men do not 
carry other people's bills about in their pockets. We have most of us 
quite enough to do to settle our own. I at once concluded that 
Straker was leading a double life, and keeping a second establishment. 
The nature of the bill showed that there was a ladv in the case, and 
one who had expensive tastes. Liberal as you arc \\ith your servants, 
one hardly expects that they can buy twent}--guinea walking dresses 
for their women. I questioned Mrs. Straker as to the dress without 
her knowing it, and having satisfied m}'self that it had never reached 
her, I made a note of the milliner's address, and felt that b)' calling 
there with Straker's photograph, I could easily dispose of the mythical 

" From that time on all was plain. Straker had led out 
the horse to a hollow where his light would be invisible. 
Simpson, in his flight, had dropped his cravat, and Straker 
had picked it up with some idea, perhaps, that he might use 
it in securing the horse's leg. Once in the hollow he had got behind 
the horse, and had struck a light, but the creature, frightened at the 
sudden glare, and with the strange instinct of animals feeling that 
some mischief was intended, had lashed out, and the steel shoe had 
struck Straker full on the forehead. He had already, in spite of the 
rain, taken off his overcoat in order to do his delicate task, and so, as 
he fell, his knife ga.shed his thigh. Do I make it clear ? " 

" Wonderful ! " cried the Colonel. " Wonderful ! You might 
have been there." 

" My final shot was, I confess, a very long one. It struck me 
that so astute a man as Straker would not undertake this delicate 
tendon-nicking without a little practice. What could he practise on ? 
My eyes fell upon the sheep, and I asked a question which, rather 
to my surprise, showed that my surmise was correct." 

" You have made it perfectly clear, Mr. Holmes." 

"When I returned to London I called upon the milliner, who at 
once recognised Straker as an excellent customer, of the name of 



Darbyshire, who had a very dashing wife with a strong partiality for 
expensive dresses. I ha\-c no doubt that this woman had plunged 
him over head and ears in debt, and so led him into this miserable 

" You have explained all but one thing," cried the Colonel. 
" Where was the horse ? " 

" Ah, it bolted, and was cared for by one of your neighbours. 
We must have an amnest}'- in that direction, I think. This is Clapham 
Junction, if I am not mistaken, and we shall be in Victoria in less than 
ten minutes. If you care to smoke a cigar in our rooms, Colonel, I 
shall be happy to give you any other details which might interest 





X publishing these short sketches, based upon the numerous 
cases in which my companion's singular gifts have made 
me the listener to, and eventually the actor in some strange 
drama, it is only natural that I should dwell rather upon 
his successes than upon his failures. And this is not so 
much for the sake of his reputation, for indeed it was when he was at 
his wits' end that his energy and his versatility were most admirable, 
but because where he failed it happened too often that no one else 
succeeded, and that the tale was left for ever without a conclusion. 
Now and again, however, it chanced that even when he erred the truth 
was still discovered. I have notes of some half-dozen cases of the 
kind, of which the affair of the second stain and that which I am 
now about to recount are the two which present the strongest features 
of interest. 

Sherlock Holmes was a man who seldom took exercise for exer- 
cise's sake. Few men were capable of greater muscular effort, and he 
was undoubtedly one of the finest boxers of his weight that I have 
ever seen ; but he looked upon aimless bodily exertion as a waste of 
energy, and he seldom bestirred himself save where there was some 
professional object to be served. Then he was absolutely untiring 
and indefatigable. That he should have kept himself in training 
under such circumstances is remarkable, but his diet was usually of 
the sparest, and his habits were simple to the verge of austerit}\ Save 
for the occasional use of cocaine he had no vices, and he only turned 
to the drug as a protest against the monotony of existence when cases 
were scanty and the papers uninteresting. 

One day in early spring he had so far relaxed as to go for a walk 
with me in the Park, where the first faint shoots of green were breaking 


out upon the elms, and the sticky spearheads of the chestnuts were 
just beginning to burst into their five-fold leaves. For two hours we 
rambled about together, in silence for the most part, as befits two 
men who know each other intimately. It was nearly five before we 
were back in Baker Street once more. 

" Beg pardon, sir," said our page-boy, as he opened the door ; 
" there's been a gentleman here asking for you, sir." 

Holmes glanced reproachfully at me. " So much for afternoon 
walks ! " said he. " Has this gentleman gone, then ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Didn't you ask him in ? " 

" Yes, sir ; he came in." 

" How long did he v/ait ? " 

" Half an hour, sir. He was a very restless gentleman, sir, 
a-walkin' and a-stampin' all the time he was here. I was waitin' 
outside the door, sir, and I could hear him. At last he goes out into 
the passage and he cries : ' Is that man never goin' to come ? ' Those 
were his very words, sir. ' You'll only need to wait a little longer,' says 
I. ' Then I'll wait in the open air, for I feel half choked,' says he. ' I'll 
be back before long,' and with that he ups and he outs, and all I could 
say wouldn't hold him back." 

" Well, well, you did your best," said Holmes, as we walked into 
our room. " It's very annoying though, Watson. I was badly in need 
of a case, and this looks, from the man's impatience, as if it were of 
importance. Halloa ! that's not your pipe on the table ! He must 
have left his behind him. A nice old briar, with a good long stem of 
what the tobacconists call amber. I wonder how many real amber 
mouthpieces there are in London. Some people think a fly in it is a 
sign. Why, it is quite a branch of trade the putting of sham flies 
into the sham amber. Well, he must have been disturbed in 
his mind to leave a pipe behind him which he evidently values 

" How do you know that he values it highly? " I asked. 

" Well, I should put the original cost of the pipe at seven-and- 
sixpence. Now it has, you see, been twice mended : once in the 
wooden stem and once in the amber. Each of these mends, done, as 
you observe, with silver bands, must have cost more than the pipe did 




originally. The man must value the pipe highly when he prefers to 
patch it up rather than buy a new one with the same money." 

"Anything else?" I asked, for Holmes was turning the pipe 
about in his hand and staring at it in his peculiar, pensive way. 

He held it up and tapped on it with his long, thin forefinger as a 
professor might who was lecturing on a bone. 


" Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest," said he. 
" Nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces. 
The indications here, however, are neither very marked nor very 
important. The owner is obviousl}^ a muscular man, left-handed, with 
an excellent set of teeth, careless in his habits, and with no need to 
practise economy." 

My friend threw out tiie information in a ver)^ off-hand way, but 
1 saw that he cocked his eye at me to see if I had followed his 


" You think a man must be well-to-do if he smokes a seven- 
shilling pipe? " said I. 

" This is Grosvenor mixture at eightpence an ounce," Holmes 
answered, knocking a little out on his palm. " As he might get an 
excellent smoke for half the price, he has no need to practise economy." 


" And the other points ? " 

" He has been in the habit of Hghting his pipe at lamps and 
gas-jets. You can see that it is quite charred all down one side. Of 
course, a match could not have done that. Why should a man hold 
a match to the side of his pipe ? But you cannot light it at a lamp 
without getting the bowl charred. And it is all on the right side of 
the pipe. From that I gather that he is a left-handed man. You 
hold your own pipe to the lamp, and see how naturally you, being 
right-handed, hold the left side to the flame. You might do it once 
the other way, but not as a constancy. This has always been held so. 
Then he has bitten through his amber. It takes a muscular, energetic 
fellow, and one with a good set of teeth to do that. But if I am not 
mistaken I hear him upon the stair, so we shall have something more 
interesting than his pipe to study." 

An instant later our door oDcned, and a tall \-ouno" man entered 
the room. He was well but quietly dressed in a dark-grey suit, and 
carried a brown wide-awake in his hand. I should have put him at 
about thirty, though he was really some years older. 

" I beg your pardon," said he, with some embarrassment ; " I 
suppose I should ha\e knocked. Yes, of course I should have 
knocked. The fact is that I am a little upset, and }-ou must put it all 
down to that." He passed his hand o\er his forehead like a man who 
is half dazed, and then fell, rather than sat, down upon a chair. 

" I can see that you have not slept for a night or two," said 
Holmes, in his easy, genial wa\'. " That tries a man's ner\"es more 
than work, and more e\-en than pleasure. May I ask how I can help 
you ? " 

" I wanted your advice, sir. I don't kr.ow w hat to do, and my 
whole life seems to have gone to pieces." 

" You wish to employ me as a consulting detective ? " 

" Not that onl)'. I want your opinion as a judicious man — as a 
man of the world. I want to know what I ought to do next. I hope 
to God you'll be able to tell me." 

He spoke in little, sharp, jerky outbursts, and it seemed to me 
that to speak at all was very painful to him, and that his will all 
through was overriding his inclinations. 

"It's a very delicate thing," said he. "One does not like to 



speak of one's domestic affairs to strangers. It seems dreadful to 
discuss the conduct of one's wife with two men whom I have never 
seen before. It's horrible to have to do it. But I've got to the end 
of my tether, and I must have advice." 

" My clear Mr. Grant Munro-- " began Holmes. 

Our visitor sprang from his chair. " What ! " he cried. " You 
know my name ? " 

"our visitor SPRANCi [--KUM HIS CHAIR." 

"If you wish to preserve }'our {ncognitol' said Holmes, smiling, 
*' I should suggest that you cease to write your name upon the lining 
of your hat, or else that you turn the crown towards the person whom 
you are addressing. I was about to say that m}' friend and T have 
listened to many strange secrets in this room, and that we have had 
the good fortune to bring peace to many troubled souls. I trust that 
we may do as much for you. ]\Iight I beg you, as time may prove to 


be of importance, to furnish me with the facts of )-our case without 
further delay ? " 

Our visitor again passed his hand over his forehead as if he found 
it bitterly hard. From every gesture and expression I could see that 
he was a reserved, self-contained man, with a dash of pride in his 
nature, more likely to hide his wounds than to expose them. Then 
suddenly, with a fierce gesture of his closed hand, like one who throws 
reserve to the winds, he began. 

" The facts are these, Mr. Holmes," said he. " I am a married 
man, and have been so for three )'ears. During that time my wife 
and I have loved each other as fondl\', and lived as happily, as any 
two that ever were joined. We have not had a difference, not one, in 
thought, or word, or deed. And now, since last Monda\-, there has 
suddenly sprung up a barrier between us, and I find that there is 
something in her life and in her thoughts of uhich 1 know as little as 
if she were the woman who brushes by me in the street. We are 
estranged, and I want to know wh}-. 

" Now there is one thing I want to impress upon }-ou before I go 
any further, Mr. Holmes : Effie loves me. Don't let there be any 
mistake about that. She loves me with her whole heart and soul, and 
never more than now. I know it, I feel it. I don't want to argue 
about that. A man can tell easily enough when a ^^■oman loves him. 
But there's this secret between us, and we can never be the same until 
it is cleared." 

" Kindl}' let me have the facts, Mr. Munro," said Holmes, with 
some impatience. 

" I'll tell )'ou what I know about Effie's history. She was a widow 
when I met her first, though quite young — only twenty-five. Her 
name then was Mrs. Hebron. She went out to America when she 
was young and lived in the town of Atlanta, where she married this 
Hebron, who was a lawyer with a good practice. They had one child, 
but the yellow fever broke out badly in the place, and both husband 
and child died of it. I have seen his death certificate. This sickened 
her of America, and she came back to live with a maiden aunt at 
Pinner, in Middlesex. I may mention that her husband had left her 
comfortably off, and that she had a capital of about four thousand 
five hundred pounds, which had been so well invested by him that 


it returned an average of 7 per cent. She had only been six months 
at Pinner when I met her ; we fell in love with each other, and we 
married a few weeks afterwards. 

" I am a hop merchant myself, and as I have an income of seven 
or eight hundred, we found ourselves comfortably off, and took a nic^ 
eighty-pound-a-year villa at Norbury. Our little place was very 
countrified, considering that it is so close to town. We had an inn 
and two houses a little above us, and a single cottage at the other 
side of the field which faces us, and except those there were no houses 
until you get half-way to rhe station. My business took me into 
town at certain seasons, but in summer I had less to do, and then in 
our country home my wife and I were just as happy as could be 
wished. I tell you that there never was a shadow between us until 
this accursed affair began. 

" There's one thing I ought to tell }'ou before I go further. 
When we married, my wife made over all her property to me— 
rather against my will, for I saw how awkward it would be if my 
business affairs went wrong. However, she would have it so, and it 
was done. Well, about six weeks ago she came to me. 

"'Jack,' said she, ' when you took my money you said that if 
ever I wanted any I was to ask }'Ou for it.' 

" ' Certainly,' said I, ' it's all your own.' 

" ' Well,' said she, ' I want a hundred pounds.' 

" I was a bit staggered at this, for I had imagined it was simply 
a new dress or something of the kind that she was after. 

" ' What on earth for ? ' I asked. 

" ' Oh,' said she, in her playful way, ' you said that }-ou were only 
m>' banker, and bankers never ask questions, you know.' 

" ' If you really mean it, of course you .shall have the money,' said I. 

" ' Oh, yes, I really mean it.' 

" ' And you won't tell me what you want it for ? ' 

" ' Some day, perhaps, but not just at present. Jack.' 

" So I had to be content with that, though it was the first 
time that there had ever been any secret between us. I ga\c her a 
cheque, and I never thought any more of the matter. It may have 
nothing to do with what came afterwards, but I thought it onh" right 
to mention it. 


" Well, I told you just now that there is a cottage not far from 
our house. There is just a field between us, but to reach it you have 
to go along the road and then turn down a lane. Just beyond it is 
a nice little grove of Scotch firs, and I used to be very fond of stroll- 
ing down there, for trees are always neighbourly kinds of things. 
The cottage had been standing empty this eight months, and it was 
a pity, for it was a pretty two-storied place, with an old-fashioned 
porch and honeysuckle about it. I have stood many a time and 
thought what a neat little homestead it would make. 

" Well, last Monday evening I was taking a sti-oll down that 
way, when I met an empty \'an coming up the lane, and saw a pile 
of carpets and things lying about on the grass-plot beside the porch. 
It was clear that the cottage had at last been let. I walked past it, 
and then stopping, as an idle man might, I ran m\' eye over it, and 
wondered what sort of folk the}' were who had come to live so near 
us. And as I looked I suddenly became aware that a face was 
watching me out of one of the upper windows. 

" I don't know what there was about that face, Mr. llolmes, but 
it seemed to send a chill right down my back. I was some little 
way off, so that I could not make out the features, but there was 
something unnatural and inhuman about the face. That was the 
impression I had, and I moved quickly forwards to get a nearer view 
of the person who was watching me. But as I did so the face 
suddenly disappeared, so suddenly that it seemed to have been plucked 
away into the darkness of the room. I stood for five minutes thinking 
the business over, and trying to anal)'ze my impressions. I could not 
tell if the face was that of a man or a woman. But the colour was 
what impressed me most. It was of a livid dead yellow, and with 
something set and rigid about it, which was shockingly unnatural. 
So disturbed was I, that I determined to see a little more of the new 
inmates of the cottage. I approached and knocked at the door, 
which was instantly opened by a tall, gaunt woman, with a harsh, 
forbidding face. 

" ' What may you be wantin' ? ' she asked, in a northern accent. 

'"I am j-our neighbour over yonder,' said I, nodding towards 
my house. ' I see that \-ou have only just moved in, so I thought that 
if I could be of any help to you in any ' 



"what may you be wa.ntin' ■?' 

" ' Aye, we'll just ask }-e when we \\ant }-e,' said she, and shut the 
door in my face. Annoyed at the churlish rebuff, I turned m}- back 
and walked home. All the evening, though I tried to think of other 
things, my mind would still turn to the apparition at the window and 
the rudeness of the woman. I determined to say nothing about the 
former to my wife, for she is a nervous, highly-strung woman, and I 
had no wish that she should share the unpleasant impression which 
had been produced upon myself I remarked to her, however, before 
I fell asleep that the cottage was now occupied, to which she returned 
no repl}'. 

" I am usually an extremely sound sleeper. It has been a stand- 
ing jest in the family that nothing could e\'er wake me during the 
night ; and yet somehow on that particular night, whether it ma^- 


have been the sHght excitement produced b\- my Httlc ad\enture or 
not, I know not, but 1 slept much more hghtly than usual. Half in 
my dreams I was dimly conscious that something was going on in the 
room, and gradually became aware that my wife had dressed herself 
and was slipping on her mantle and her bonnet. My lips were parted to 
murmur out some sleepy words of surprise or remonstrance at this 
untimely preparation, when suddenly my half-opened eyes fell upon 
her face, illuminated by the candle light, and astonishment held me 
dumb. She wore an expression such as I had never seen before — 
such as I should have thought her incapable of assuming. She w^as 
deadly pale, and breathing fast, glancing furtively towards the bed, as 
she fastened her mantle, to see if she had disturbed me. Then, 
thinking that I was still asleep, she slipped noiselessly from the room, 
and an instant later I heard a sharp creaking, which could onl}' 
come from the hinges of the front door. I sat up in bed and rapped 
my knuckles against the rail to make certain that I was truly awake. 
Then I took my watch from under the pillow. It was three in the 
morning. What on this earth could m}- wife be doing out on the 
country road at three in the morning ? 

" I had sat for about twenty minutes turning the thing over in 
my mind and tr}-ing to find some possible explanation. The more I 
thought, the more extraordinary and inexplicable did it appear. I 
was still puzzling over it when I heard the door gently close again 
and her footsteps coming up the stairs. 

"'Where in the world have )-ou been, Efifie?" I asked, as she 

" She gave a violent start and a kind of gasping cry when I 
spoke, and that cry and start troubled me more than all the rest, for 
there was something indescribably guilt}' about them. My wife had 
always been a woman of a frank, open nature, and it gave me a chill 
to see her slinking into her own room, and crying out and wincing 
when her own husband spoke to her. 

" ' You awake, Jack ? ' she cried, with a nervous laugh. ' Why, 
I thought that nothing could awaken \-ou.' 

" ' Where have you been ? ' I asked, more sternly. 

" ' I don't wonder that )-ou are surprised,' said she, and I could 
see that her fingers were trembling as she undid the fastenings of her 


mantle. ' Wh}-, I never remember having done such a thing in my 
hfe before. The fact is, that I felt as though I were choking, and had 
a perfect longing for a breath of fresh air. I really think that I 
should have fainted if I had not gone out. I stood at the door for a 
few minutes, and now I am quite m}'self again.' 

" All the time that she was telling me this story she never once 
looked in my direction, and her voice was quite unlike her usual 
tones. It was exident to me that she was saying what was false. I 
said nothing in reph', but turned my face to the wall, sick at heart, 
with m)' mind filled with a thousand venomous doubts and suspicions. 
What was it that my wife was concealing from me ? Where had she 
been during that strange expedition ? I felt that I should have no 
peace until I knew, and yet I shrank from asking her again after 
once she had told me what was false. All the rest of the night I 
tossed and tumbled, framing theory after theor}-, each more unlikel)' 
than the last. 

" I should have gone to the City that day^ but I was too 
perturbed in my mind to be able to pay attention to business 
matters. My wife seemed to be as upset as myself, and I could see 
from the little questioning glances which she kept shooting at me, 
that she understood that I disbelieved her statement, and that she 
was at her wits' ends what to do. We hardly exchanged a word 
during breakfast, and immediately afterwards I went out for a walk. 
that I might think the matter over in the fresh morning air. 

" I went as far as the Crystal Palace, spent an hour in the 
grounds, and was back in Norbury by one o'clock. It happened 
that my way took me past the cottage, and I stopped for an 
instant to look at the windows and to see if I could catch a glimpse 
of the strange face which had stared out at me on the day before. 
As I stood there, imagine my surprise, Mr. Holmes, when the door 
suddenly opened and my wife walked out ! 

" I was struck dumb with astonishment at the sight of her. but 
my emotions were nothing to those which showed themselves upon 
her face when our eyes met. She seemed for an instant to wish to 
shrink back inside the house again, and then, seeing how useless all 
concealment must be, she came forward with a very white face and 
frightened eyes which belied the smile upon her lips. 



" ' Oh, Jack ! ' she said, ' I have just been in to see if I can be of 
any assistance to our new neighbours. Why do you look at me Hke 
that, Jack ? You are not angry with me ? ' 

" ' So,' said I, ' this is \\'here you went during the night ?' 

" ' What do you mean ? ' she cried. 

" ' You came here. I am sure of it. Who are these people that 
you should visit them at such an hour ? ' 

" ' I have not been here before.' 

"'How can you tell me what you know is false?' I cried. 
' Your very voice changes as you speak. When have I ever had a 
secret from you ? I shall enter that cottage, and I shall probe the 
matter to the bottom.' 

'"No, no, Jack, for God's sake!' she gasped, in incontrollable 
emotion. Then as I approached the door, she seized my sleeve and 
pulled me back with convulsive strength. 

'" I implore you not to do this. Jack,' she cried. ' I swear that 
I will tell }'ou everything some da}-, but nothing but misery can come 
of it if you enter that cottage.' Then, as I tried to shake her off, she 
clung to me in a frenzy of entreaty. 

" ' Trust mc. Jack ! ' she cried. ' Tru.'?t me only this once. You 
will never have cause to regret it. You know that I would not have 
a secret from you if it were not for your own sake. Our whole lives 
are at stake on this. If you come home with me all will be well. If 
you force your way into that cottage, all is over between us.' 

" There was such earnestness, such despair in her manner that 
her words arrested mc, and I stood irresolute before the door. 

" ' I will trust you on one condition, and on one condition only,' 
said I at last. ' It is that this mystery comes to an end from now. 
You are at liberty to preserve your secret, but }'ou must promise me 
that there shall be no more nightly visits, no more doings which are 
kept from my knowledge. I am willing to forget those which are 
passed if you will promise that there shall be no more in the future.' 

" ' I was sure that you would trust me,' she cried, with a great 
sigh of relief. ' It shall be just as you wish. Come away, oh, come 
away up to the house ! ' Still plucking at my sleeve she led me away 
from the cottage. As we went I glanced back, and there was that 
yellow, livid face watching us out of the upper window. What link 





could there be between that creature and m}- uife ? Or how could 
the coarse, rough woman whom I had seen the day before be 
connected with her? It was a strange puzzle, and yet I knew that 
my mind could never know ease again until I had solved it. 

" For two days after this I stayed at home, and my wife appeared 
to abide loyally by our engagement, for, as far as I know, she never 
stirred out of the house. On the third day, however, I had ample 
evidence that her solemn promise was not enough to hold her back 
from this secret influence which drew her away from her husband and 
her duty. 

" I had gone into town on that day, but I returned by the 2.40 
instead of the 3.36, which is my usual train. As I entered the house 
the maid ran into the hall with a startled face. 


" ' Where is your mistress ? ' I asked. 

" ' I think that she has gone out for a walk,' she answered. 

" My mind was instantly filled with suspicion. I rushed upstairs 
to make sure that she was not in the house. Ks I did so I happened 
to glance out of one of the upper windows, and saw the maid with 
whom I had just been speaking running across the field in the direction 
of the cottage. Then, of course, I saw exactly what it all meant. 
My wife had gone over there, and had asked the servant to call her if 
I should return. Tingling with anger, I rushed down and strode 
across, determined to end the matter once and for ever. I saw my 
wife and the maid hurrying back together along the lane, but I did 
not stop to speak with them. In the cottage lay the secret which was 
casting a shadow over my life. I vowed that, come what might, it 
should be a secret no longer. I did not even knock when I reached 
it, but turned the handle and rushed into the passage. 

" It was all still and quiet upon the ground-floor. In the kitchen 
a kettle was singing on the fire, and a large black cat lay coiled up in 
a basket, but there was no sign of the woman whom I had seen 
before. I ran into the other room, but it was equally deserted. Then 
I rushed up the stairs, but only to find two other rooms empty and 
deserted at the top. There was no one at all in the whole house. 
The furniture and pictures were of the most common and vulgar 
description, save in the one chamber at the window of which I had 
seen the strange face. That was comfortable and elegant, and all my 
suspicions rose into a fierce, bitter blaze when I saw that on the 
mantelpiece stood a full-length photograph of m}- wife, which had 
been taken at my request only three months ago. 

" I stayed long enough to make certain that the house was 
absolutely empty. Then I left it, feeling a weight at my heart such 
as I had never had before. My wife came out into the hall as I 
entered my house, but I was too hurt and angry to speak with her, 
and pushing past her I made my way into my study. She followed 
me, however, before I could close the door. 

'" I am sorry that I broke my promise, Jack,' said she ; ' but if 
you knew all the circumstances I am sure you would forgive me.' 

" ' Tell me everything, then,' said I. 

" ' I cannot, Jack, I cannot ! ' she cried. 




" ' Until }-ou tell mc who it is that has been living in that cottage, 
and who it is to whom you have given that photograph, there can 
never be any confidence between us,' said I, and breaking away from 
her I left the house. That was yesterday, Mr. Holmes, and I have 
'not seen her since, nor do I know anything more about this strange 
business. It is the first shadow that has come between us, and it has 
so shaken mc that I do not know what I should do for tlie best. 
Suddenly this morning it occurred to mc that you were the man to 
advise me, so I have hurried to you now, and I i^lace myself unre- 
servedly in )'our hands. If there is any point which I have not made 
clear, pray question me about it. But above all tell me quickl\- what 
I have to do, for this misery is more than I can bear." 

Holmes and I had listened with the utmost interest to this 
extraordinary statement, which had been delivered in the jerky, 
broken fashion of a man who is under the influence of extreme 
emotion. My companion sat silent now for some time, with his chin 
upon his hand, lost in thought. 

"Tell me," said he at last, "could you swear that this was a 
man's face which you saw at the window ? " 


" Each time that I saw it I was some distance away from it, so 
that it is impossible for me to say." 

" You appear, however, to have been disagreeably impressed 

by it." 

"It seemed to be of an unnatural cDlour, and to have a strange 
rigidity about the features When I approached, it vanished with a 

" How long is it since your wife asked you for a hundred 
pounds ? " 

" Nearly two months." 

" Have you ever seen a photograph of her first husband ? " 

" No ; there was a great fire at Atlanta very shortly after his 
death, and all her papers were destroyed." 

" And }'et she had a certificate of death. You say that }ou 
saw it ? " 

" Yes, she got a duplicate after the fire." 

"Did you ever meet anyone who knew her in America?" 

" No." 

" Did she ever talk of revisiting the place ? " 

" No." 

" Or get letters from it ? " 

" Not to my knowledge." 

" Thank you. 1 should like to think over the matter a little now. 
If the cottage is permanently deserted we ma\' have some difficulty ; 
if on the other hand, as I fancy is more likely, the inmates were 
warned of your coming, and left before you entered yesterda}', then 
they may be back now, and we should clear it all up easil}\ Let me 
advise you, then, to return to Norbury and to examine the windows 
of the cottage again. If }'ou have reason to believe that it is 
inhabited do not force your way in, but send a wire to my friend and 
me. We shall be with \-ou within an hour of receiving it, and we 
shall then very soon get to the bottom of the business." 

"And if it is still empty?" 

" In that case I shall come out to-morrow and talk it over with 
you. Good-bye, and above all things do not fret until you know that 
you really have a cause for it." 

" I am afraid that this is a bad business, W^atson," said my 


companion, as he returned after accompanying Mr. Grant Munro to 
the door. " Wliat do you make of it ? " 

"It has an ugly sound," I answered. 

" Yes. There's blackmail in it, or I am much mistaken." 

" And who is the blackmailer ? " 

" Well, it must be this creature who lives in the only comfortable 
room in the place, and has her photograph above his fireplace. Upon 
my word, Watson, there's something very attractive about that livid 
face at the window, and I would not have missed the case for 

" You have a theory } " 

" Yes, a provisional one. But I shall be surprised if it does not 
turn out to be correct. This woman's first husband is in that cottage." 

" Why do you think so ? " 

" How else can we explain her frenzied anxiety that her second 
one should not enter it ? The facts, as I read them, are something 
like this : This woman was married in America. Her husband 
developed some hateful qualities, or, shall we sa)% that he contracted 
some loathsome disease, and became a leper or an imbecile. She fled 
from him at last, returned to England, changed her name, and started 
her life, as she thought, afresh. She had been married three years, 
and believed that her position was quite secure — having shown her 
husband the death certificate of some man whose name she had 
assumed — when sudden 1)- her whereabouts was discovered by her 
first husband, or, we may suppose, by some unscrupulous woman, who 
had attached herself to the invalid. They write to the wife and 
threaten to come and expose her. She asks for a hundred pounds 
and endeavours to bu)- tliem off They come in spite of it, and when 
the husband mentions casually to the wife that there are new-comers 
in the cottage, she knows in some way that they are her pursuers. 
She waits until her husband is asleep, and then she rushes down to 
endeavour to persuade them to leave her in peace. Having no success, 
she goes again next morning, and her husband meets her, as he has told 
us, as she came out. She promises him then not to go there again, 
but two days afterwards, the hope of getting rid of those dreadful 
neighbours is too strong for her, and .she makes another attempt, 
taking down with her tlie photograph which had {)robably been 



demanded from her. In the midst of this interview the maid rushes 
in to say that the master has come home, on which the wife, knowing 
that he would come straight dow n to the cottage, hurries the inmates 
out at the back door, into that grove of fir trees probably which was 
mentioned as standing near. In this way he finds the place deserted. 
I shall be very much surprised, however, if it is still so when he 
reconnoitres it this evening. What do you think of my theory?" 

" It is all surmise." 

" But at least it covers all the facts. When new facts come to 
our knowledge which cannot be covered b}- it, it will be time enough 
to reconsider it. At present we can do nothing until we have a fresh 
message from our friend at Norbury." 

But we had not very long to wait. It came just as we had 
finished our tea. " The cottage is still tenanted," it said. " Have 
seen the face again at the window. I'll meet the seven o'clock train, 
and take no steps until you arrive." 

He was waiting on the platform when we stepped out, and we 
could see in the light of the station lamps that he was very pale, and 
quivering with agitation. 

" They are still there, Mr. Holmes," said he, laying his hand upon 
my friend's sleeve. " I saw lights in the cottage as I came down. 
We shall settle it now, once and for all." 

" What is }-our plan, then ? " asked Holmes, as we walked down 
the dark, tree-lined road. 

" I am going to force my way in and see for myself who is in the 
house. I wish you both to be there as witnesses." 

" You are quite determined to do this, in spite of your wife's 
warning that it is better that }'ou should not solve the m\'stery ? " 

" Yes, I am determined." 

"Well, I think that ^•ou are in the right. Anv truth is better 
than indefinite doubt. We had better go up at once. Of course, 
legally we are putting ourselves hopelessly in the wrong, but I think 
that it is worth it." 

It was a very dark night, and a thin rain began to fall as we 
turned from the high road into a narrow lane, deeply rutted, with 
hedges on either side. Mr. Grant Munro pushed impatiently forward, 
however, and we stumbled after him as best we could. 


" There are the Hghts of my house," he murmured, pointing to a 
ghmmer among the trees, " and here is the cottage which I am going 
to enter." 

We turned a corner in the lane as he spoke, and there was the 
building close beside us. A yellow bar falling across the black fore- 
ground showed that the door was not quite closed, and one window in 
the upper story was brighth' illuminated. As we looked we saw a 
dark blurr moving across the blind. 

" There is that creature," cried Grant Munro ; " you can see for 
yourselves that someone is there. Now follow me, and we shall soon 
know all." 

We approached the door, but suddenly a woman appeared out of 
the shadow and stood in the golden track of the lamp-light. I could 
not see her face in the darkness, but her arms were thrown out in an 
attitude of entreat}-. 

" For God's sake, don't, Jack ! " she cried. " I had a presentiment 
that you would come this e\ening. Think better of it, dear ! Trust 
me again, and you will ne\er have cause to regret it." 

" I have trusted \-ou too long, Effie ! " he cried, sternh-. " Leave 
goof me! I must pass } ou. M}' friends and I are going to settle 
this matter once and for ever." He pushed her to one side and we 
followed closeK" after him. As he threw the door open an elderly 
woman ran out in front of him and tried to bar his passage, but he 
thrust her back, and an instant afterwards we were all upon the stairs. 
Grant Munro rushed into the lighted room at the top, and we entered 
it at his heels. 

It was a cosy, well-furnished apartment, with two candles burning 
upon the table and two upon the mantelpiece. In the corner, stooping 
over a desk, there sat what appeared to be a little girl. Her face was 
turned awa}- as we entered, but we could see that she was dressed in 
a red frock, and that she had long white gloves on. As she whisked 
round to us I gave a cry of surprise and horror. The face which she 
turned towards us was of the strangest livid tint, and the features were 
absolutely devoid of any expression. An instant later the mystery 
was explained. Holmes, with a laugh, passed his hand behind the 
child's ear, a mask peeled off from her countenance, and there was a 
little coal-black negress with all her white teeth flashing in amuse- 




ment at our amazed faces. I burst out laughing out of sympathy 
with her merriment, but Grant Alunro stood staring, with his hand 
clutching at his throat. 

" My God ! " he cried, " what can be the meaning of this ? " 

" I will tell you the meaning of it," cried the lady, sweeping into 
the room with a proud, set face. " You have forced me against my 
own judgment to tell you, and now we must both make the best of it. 
My husband died at Atlanta. My child survived." 

" Your child ! " 

She drew a large siher locket from her bosom. " You have 
never seen this open." 

" I understood that it did not open." 

She touched a spring, and the front hinged back. There was a 
portrait within of a man, strikingly handsome and intelligent, but 
bearing unmistakable signs upon his features of his African descent. 

" That is John Hebron, of Atlanta," said the lad)-, "and a nobler 
man never walked the earth. I cut myself off from m}' race in order 
to wed him ; but never once while he lived did I for one instant regret 
it. It was our misfortune that our only child took after his people 


rather than mine. It is often so in such matches, and httle Lucy is 
darker far than ever her father was. But, dark or fair, she is my own 
dear Httle girlie, and her mother's pet." The little creature ran across 
at the words and nestled up against the lady's dress. 

" When I left her in America," she continued, " it was only 
because her health was weak, and the change might have done her 
harm. She was given to the care of a faithful Scotchwoman who had 
once been our servant. Never for an instant did I dream of disown- 
ing her as my child. But when chance threw you in my way, Jack, 
and I learned to love you, I feared to tell you about my child. God 
forgive me, I feared that I should lose you, and 1 had not the courage 
to tell }'ou. I had to choose between you, and in my weakness I 
turned away from my own little girl. For three years I have kept her 
existence a secret from you, but I heard from the nurse, and I 
knew that all was well with her. At last, however, there came an 
overwhelming desire to see the child once more. I struggled against 
it, but in vain. Though I knew the danger, I determined to have the 
child over, if it were but for a few^ weeks. I sent a hundred pounds 
to the nurse, and I gave her instructions about this cottage, so that 
she might come as a neighbour without my appearing to be in any 
way connected with her. I pushed my precautions so far as to order 
her to keep the child in the house during the daytime, and to cover 
up her little face and hands, so that even those who might see her at 
the window should not gossip about there being a black child in the 
neighbourhood. If I had been less cautious I might have been 
more wise, but I was half crazy with fear lest you should learn the 

" It was you who told me first that the cottage was occupied. I 
should have waited for the morning, but I could not sleep for excite- 
ment, and so at last I slipped out, knowing how difficult it is to 
awaken you. But you saw me go, and that was the beginning of my 
troubles. Next day you had my secret at your mercy, but you nobly 
refrained from pursuing your advantage. Three days later, however, 
the nurse and child only just escaped from the back door as you 
rushed in at the front one. And now to-night you at last know all, 
and I ask you what is to become of us. my child and me ? " She 
clasped her hands and waited for an answer. 



It was a long two minutes before Grant Munro broke the silence, 
and when his answer came it was one of which I love to think. He 
lifted the little child, kissed her, and then, still carrying her, he held 
his other hand out to his wife and turned towards the door. 


" We can talk it over more comfortabl}- at home," said he. " 1 am 
not a very good man, Effie, but I think I am a better one than you 
have given me credit for being." 

Holmes and I followed them down to the lane, and my friend 
plucked at my sleeve as we came out. " I think," said he, " that we 
shall be of more use in London than in Xorbur}-." 

Not another word did he sa)' of the case until late that night 
when he was turning away, with his lighted candle, for his bedroom. 

" Watson," said he, " if it should ever strike you that I am getting 
a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than 
it deserves, kindly whisper ' Norbury ' in my ear, and I shall be 
infinitely obliged to )'ou." 


HORTLY after my marriage I had bought a connection 
in the Paddington district. Old Mr. Farquhar, from 
whom I purchased it, had at one time an excellent 
general practice, but his age, and an affliction of the 
nature of St. Vitus's dance from which he suffered, had 
very much thinned it. The public, not unnaturally, goes upon the 
principle that he who would heal others must himself be whole, and 
looks askance at the curative powers of the man whose own case is 
beyond the reach of his drugs. Thus, as m)^ predecessor weakened 
his practice declined, until when I purchased it from him it had sunk 
from twelve hundred to little more than three hundred a year. I had 
confidence, however, in m\^ own youth and energ}-, and was convinced 
that in a very few )'ears the concern would be as flourishing as ever. 

For three months after taking over the practice I was kept ver)' 
closely at work, and saw little of my friend Sherlock Holmes, for I was 
too busy to visit Baker Street, and he seldom went anywhere himself 
save upon professional business. I was surprised, therefore, when one 
morning in June, as I sat reading the BritisJi Medical JoiDiial after 
breakfast, I heard a ring at the bell followed by the high, somewhat 
strident, tones of my old companion's voice. 

" Ah, my dear Watson," said he, striding into the room, " I am 
very delighted to see }-ou. I trust that Mrs. Watson has entirely 
recovered from all the little excitements connected with our adventure 
of the ' Sign of Four ' ? " 

" Thank you, we are both very well," said I, shaking him warmly 
by the hand. 

"And I hope also," he continued, sitting down in the rocking- 
chair, " that the cares of medical practice have not entirel}' obliterated 
the interest which you used to take in our little deductive problems." 



" On the contrary," I answered ; " it was only last night that I 
was looking over my old notes and classifying some of our past 

" I trust that you don't consider your collection closed ? " 

" Not at all. I should wish nothing better than to have some 
more of such experiences." 

" To-day, for example ? " 

" Yes ; to-day, if )'ou like." 

" And as far off as Birmingham ? " 

" Certainly, if )'OU wish it." 

" And the practice ? " 

" I do my neighbour's when he goes, lie is always ready to 
work off the debt." 

" Ha ! Nothing could be better ! " said Holmes, leaning back in 



his chair and looking keenly at me from under his half-closed lids. 
" I perceive that you have been unwell lately. Summer colds are 
always a little trying." 

" I was confined to the house by a severe chill for three days last 
week. I thought, however, that I had cast off every trace of it." 

" So you have. You look remarkably robust." 

" How, then, did you know of it ? " 


" My dear fellow, you know my methods." 

" You deduced it, then ? " 

" Certain]}'." 

" And from what ? " 

" From your slippers." 

I glanced down at the new patent leathers which I was wearing. 

" How on earth ? " I began, but Holmes answered my question 

before it was asked. 

" Your slippers are new," he said. " You could not have had 
them more than a {q\n weeks. The soles which }-ou are at this 
moment presenting to me are slightly scorched, h'or a moment I 
thought they might have got wet and been burned in the drying. 
But near the instep there is a small circular wafer of paper with the 
shopman's hieroglyphics upon it. Damp would of course have 
removed this. You had then been sitting with your feet outstretched 
to the fire, which a man would hardly do even in so wet a June 
as this if he were in his full health." 

Like all Holmes's reasoning, the thing seemed simplicity itself 
when it was once explained. He read the thought upon my features, 
and his smile had a tinge of bitterness. 

" I am afraid that I rather give myself away when I explain," 
said he. " Results without causes are much more impressive. You 
arc ready to come to Birmingham, then ? " 

" Certainly. What is the case ? " 

"You shall hear it all in the train. My client is outside in a 
four-wheeler. Can j'ou come at once ? " 

" In an instant." I scribbled a note to my neighbour, rushed 
upstairs to explain the matter to my wife, and joined Holmes upon 
the doorstep. 

" Your neighbour is a doctor ? " said he, nodding at the brass 

" Yes. He bought a practice as I did." 

" An old-established one ? " 

"Just the same as mine. Both have been ever since the houses 
were built." 

" Ah, then \-ou got hold of the best of the two." 

" I think I did. But how do you know ? " 


" By the steps, my boy. Yours are worn three inches deeper 
than his. But this gentleman in the cab is my cHent, Mr. Hall 
Pycroft. Allow me to introduce }-ou to him. Whip )-our horse up, 
cabb}', for we have onl)- just time to catch our train." 

The man whom I found m\-self facing was a well-built, fresh- 
complexioned young fellow with a frank, honest face and a slight, 
crisp, }'ellow moustache. He wore a ver\' shiny top- hat and a neat 
suit of sober black, which made him look what he was — a smart 
young City man. of the class who have been labelled Cockne)s, but 
who give us our crack Volunteer regiments, and who turn out more 
fine athletes and sportsmen than any body of men in these islands. 
His round, ruddy face was naturally full of cheeriness, but the corners 
of his mouth seemed to me to be pulled down in a half-comical dis- 
tress. It was not, however, until we were all in a first-class carriage 
and well started upon our journey to Birmingham, that I was able to 
learn what the trouble was which had driven him to Sherlock Holmes. 

" We have a clear run here of seventy minutes," Holmes remarked. 
" I want you, Mr. Hall Pycroft, to tell my friend )'our very interesting 
experience exactly as you have told it to me, or with more detail if 
possible. It will be of use to me to hear the succession of events 
again. It is a case, Watson, which ma)- prove to have something in 
it, or may prove to have nothing, but which at least presents those 
unusual and outre features which are as dear to you as they are to me. 
Now, Mr. P}xroft, I shall not interrupt }-ou again." 

Our young companion looked at me with a t\\ inkle in his eye. 

" The worst of the story is," said he, " that I show m>'self up as 
such a confounded fool. Of course, it may work out all right, and I 
don't see that I could have done otherwise ;• but if I have lost my 
crib and get nothing in exchange, I shall feel what a soft Johnny 
I have been. I'm not very good at telling a story, Dr. Watson, but it 
is like this with me. 

" I used to have a billet at Coxon and Woodhouse, of Drapers' 
Gardens, but they were let in early in the spring through the 
Venezuelan loan, as no doubt you remember, and came a nasty 
cropper. I had been with them five years, and old Coxon gave me a 
ripping good testimonial when the smash came ; but, of course, we 
clerks were all turned adrift, the twent\--seven of us. I tried here and 


tried there, but there were lots of other chaps on the same lay as myself, 
and it was a perfect frost for a long time. I had been taking three 
pounds a week at Coxon's, and I had saved about seventy of them, 
but I soon worked my way through that and out at the other end. 
I was fairly at the end of my tether at last, and could hardly find 
the stamps to answer the advertisements or the envelopes to stick 
tliem to. I had worn out m}- boots padding up office stairs, and 
I seeemed just as far from gettjng a billet as ever. 

" At last I saw a vacancy at Mawson and Williams', the great 
stockbroking firm in Lombard Street. I daresay E.C. is not much 
in your line, but I can tell you that this is about the richest house in 
London. The advertisement was to be answered by letter onlw I 
sent in my testimonial and application, but without the least hope 
of getting it. Back came an answer by return, saying that if I would 
appear next Monday I might take over my new duties at once, 
provided that my appearance was satisfactory. No one knows how 
these things are worked. Some people say the manager just 
plunges his hand into the heap and takes the first that comes. 
Anyhow, it was my innings that time, and I don't ever wish to feel 
better pleased. The screw was a pound a \\cck rise, and the duties 
just about the same as at Coxon's. 

" And now I come to the queer part of the business. I was in 
diggings out Hampstead way — 17, Potter's Terrace, was the address. 
Well, I was sitting doing a smoke that ver\' exening after I had 
been promised the appointment, when up came m\' landlady with 
a card which had ' Arthur Pinner, financial agent,' printed upon it. 
I had never heard the name before, and could not imagine what h^ 
wanted with me, but of course I asked her to show him up. In he 
walked — a middle-sized, dark-haired, dark-cx'ed, black-bearded man, 
with a touch of the Sheeny about his nose. He had a brisk kind of 
way with him and spoke sharpl}', like a man that knew the value of 

" ' Mr. Hall Pycroft, I believe ? ' said he. 

" ' Yes, sir,' I answered, and pushed a chair towards him. 

" ' Lately engaged at Co.xon and Woodhouse's ? ' 

" ' Yes, sir.' 

" ' And no\\- on the staff" of Mawson's ? ' 



it i 


" ' Quite so.' 

" ' Well,' .said he. ' The fact is that I have heard some reall}- 
extraordinary stories about your financial ability. You remember 
Parker who used to be Coxon's manager? He can never say enough 
about it' 

" Of course I was pleased to hear this. I had always been pretty 
smart in the office, but I had never dreamed that I was talked about 
in the Cit}- in this fashion. 

" ' You have a good memory ? ' said he. 

" ' Pretty fair," I answered, modesth'. 

" ' Have you kept in touch with the market while you have been 
out of work ? ' he asked. 

'' ' Yes ; I read the Stock Exchange List every morning.' 

" ' Now, that shows real application ! ' he cried. ' That is the way 


to prosper ! You won't mind my testing you, will }-ou ? Let me see ! 
How are Ayrshires ? ' 

" ' One hundred and five to one hundred ana five and a quarter,' 
I answered. 

" ' And Xew Zealand Consolidated ? ' 

" ' A hundred and four.' 

" ' And British Broken Hills ? ' 

" ' Seven to seven and six.' 

" ' Wonderful I ' he cried, with his hands up. ' This quite fits in 
with all that I had heard. My boy, my bo}-, }'ou are x^xy much too 
good to be a clerk at Mawson's ! ' 

" This outburst rather astonished me, as you can think. ' Well,' 
said I, ' other people don't think quite so much of me as 3'ou seem to 
do, Mr. Pinner. I had a hard enough fight to get this berth, and I 
am very glad to have it.' 

'" Pooh, man, you should soar above it. You are not in }'our 
true sphere. Now, I'll tell you how it stands with me. What I have 
to offer is little enough when measured by your abilit}-, but when 
compared with Mawson's it is light to dark. Let me see ! When do 
you go to Mawson's ? ' 

" ' On Monday.' 

" ' Ha ! ha ! I think I would risk a little sporting flutter that }'Ou 
don't go there at all.' 

" ' Not gono Mawson's ? ' 

" No, sir. By that day you will be the business manager of the 
Franco-Midland Hardware Company, Limited, \\ith one hundred and 
thirt}'-four branches in the towns and villages of P'rancc, not counting 
one in Brussels and one in San Kemo.' 

" This took my breath awa}'. ' I never heard of it,' said I. 

" ' Very likely not. It has been kept very quiet, for the capital 
was all privately subscribed, and it is too good a thing to let the public 
into. My brother, Harry Pinner, is promoter, and joins the board 
after allotment as managing director. He knew that I was in the 
swim down here, and he asked me to pick up a good man cheap — a 
young, pushing man with plenty of snap about him. Parker spoke of 
you, and that brought me here to-night. \\'e can onl)- offer )'ou a 
beggarly five hundred to start with— — ' 


" ' Five hundred a year ! ' I shouted. 

" ' Only that at the beginninL;, but }-ou are to have an over-riding 
commission of i per cent, on all business done by your agents, and 
you may take my word for it that this will come to more than your 

" ' But I know nothing about hardware.' 

" ' Tut, my boy, you know about figures.' 

" M}' head buzzed, and I could hardly sit still in the chair. But 
suddenly a little chill of doubt came over me. 

" ' I must be frank with you,' said I. ' IVIawson only gives me 
two hundred, but ]\Iawson is safe. Now. realK', I know so little about 
your company that 

'"Ah, smart, smart!' he cried, in a kind of ecstasy of delight. 
' You are the very man for us ! You arc not to be talked over, and 
quite right too. Now, here's a note for a hundred pounds ; and if 
you think that we can do business }-ou may just slip it into )-our 
pocket as an advance upon \-our salary.' 

"'That is very handsome.' said I. 'When should I take over my 
new duties ? ' 

" ' Be in Birmingham to-morrow at one,' said he. ' I have a note 
in my pocket here which you will take to my brother. You will find 
him at 126B, Corporation Street, where the temporary offices of the 
company are situated. Of course he must confirm your engagement, 
but between ourselves it will be all right.' 

" ' Really, I hardly know how to express my gratitude, Mr Pinner,' 
said I. 

'"Not at all, m)- bo)-. You have only got your deserts. There 
are one or two small things — mere formalities — which I must arrange 
with you. You have a bit of paper beside you there. Kindly write 
upon it, " I am perfectly willing to act as business manager to the 
Franco-Midland Hardware Company, Limited, at a minimum salary 
of i^soo." ' 

" I did as he asked, and he put the paper in his pocket. 

" ' There is one other detail,' said he. ' What do you intend to do 
about Mawson's ? ' 

" I had forgotten all about Mawson's in my joy. 

" ' I'll write and resign,' said I. 


" ' Precisely what 1 don't want you to do. I liad a row over you 
with Mawson's manager. I had gone up to ask him about you, and 
he was very offensive — accused me of coaxing you away from the 
.service of the firm, and that sort of thing. At last I fairly lost my 
temper. " If you want good men you should pay them a good price," 
said I. " He would rather have our small price than your big one," 
said he. " I'll lay you a fiver," said I, " that when he has my offer you 
will never so much as hear from him again." " Done ! " said he. " We 
picked him out of the gutter, and he won't leave us so easily." Those 
were his very words.' 

"'The impudent scoundrel!' I cried. 'I've never so much as 
seen him in my life. Why should I consider him in any way ? I shall 
certainly not write if you ^^'ould rather that I didn't' 

" ' Good ! That's a promise ! ' said he, rising from his chan'. 
' Well, I am delighted to have got so good a man for m\' brother. 
Here is your advance of a hundred pounds, and here is the letter. 
Make a note of the address, 126B, Corporation Street, and remember 
that one o'clock to-morrow is your appointment. Good-night, and 
may you have all the fortune that you deserve.' 

" That's just about all that passed between us as near as I can 
remember it. You can imagine. Dr. Watson, how pleased I was at 
such an extraordinary bit of good fortune. I sat up half the night 
hugging myself over it, and next day I was off to Birmingham in a 
train that would take me in plenty of time for my appointment, I 
took my things to an hotel in New Street, and then I made my way 
to the address which had been given me. 

" It was a quarter of an hour before my time, but I thought th'it 
would make no difference. 126B was a passage between two large 
shops which led to a winding stone stair, from which there were many 
flats, let as offices to companies or professional men. The names of 
the occupants were painted up at the bottom on the wall, but there 
was no such name as the Franco- Mid land Hardware Company, 
Limited. I stood for a few minutes with my heart in my boots, 
wondering whether the whole thing was an elaborate hoax or not, 
when up came a man and addressed me. He was very like the chap 
that I had seen the night before, the same figure and voice, but he 
was clean shaven and his hair was lighter. 




' Are you Mr. Hall Pycroft ? ' he asked. 

' ' Yes; said I. 

" ' Ah ! I was expecting you, but }-ou are a trifle before your 
time. I had a note from my brother this morning, in which he sang 
your praises very loudly,' 

"' I was just looking for tlie offices when \-ou came.' 

" ' We have not got our name up }"et, for we only secured these 
temporary premises last week. Conic up with me and we will talk 
the matter over.' 

" I followed him to the top of a very lofty stair, and there right 
under the slates were a couple of empty and dusty little rooms, un- 
carpeted and uncurtained, into which he led me. I had thought of a 
great ofifice with shining tables and rov/s of clerks such as I was used 


to, and I daresay I stared rather straight at the two deal chairs and 
one Httle table, which, with a ledger and a waste-paper basket, made 
up the whole furniture. 

" ' Don't be disheartened, Mr. Pycroft,' said my new acquaintance, 
seeing the length of my face. ' Rome was not built in a day, and we 
have lots of money at our backs, though we don't cut much dash yet 
in offices. Pray sit down and let me have your letter.' 

" I gave it to him, and he read it over very carefull)\ 

" ' You seem to have made a vast impression upon my brother^ 
Arthur,' said he, ' and I know that he is a pretty shrewd judge. He 
swears by London, }-()U know, and I by Birmingham, but this time I 
shall follow his advice. Pray consider }-ourself definitely engaged.' 

" ' What are my duties ? ' I asked. 

" ' You will eventually manage the great depot in Paris, which 
will pour a flood of English crocker}- into the shops of one hundred 
and thirty-four agents in P" ranee. The purchase will be completed in 
a week, and meanwhile vou Mill remain in Birmingham, and make 
yourself useful.' 

'" How?' 

" P^or answer he took a big red book out of a drawer. ' This is a 
directory of Paris,' said he, * with the trades after the names of the 
people. 1 want 3'ou to take it home with you, and to mark off all the 
hardware sellers with their addresses. It would be of the greatest use 
to me to have them.' 

" ' Surely there are classified lists ? ' I suggested. 

'" Not reliable ones. Their system is different to ours. Stick at 
it and let me ha\'e the lists by Monday, at twelve. Good-day, Mr. 
Pycroft; if you continue to show zeal and intelligence, }"OU will find 
the compan}' a good master.' 

" I went back to the hotel with the big book under mv arm, and 
with very conflicting feelings in my breast. On the one hand I was 
definitely engaged, and had a hundred pounds in my pocket. On the 
other, the look of the offices, the absence of name on the wall, and 
other of the points which would strike a business man had left a bad 
impression as to the position of my employers. However, come what 
might, I had my mone}', so I settled down to my task. All Sunday 
I was kept hard at work, and xet b}' Monda\' I had only got as far as 


H. I went round to my employer, found him in the same dismantled 
kind of room, and was told to keep at it until Wednesday, and then 
come again. On Wednesday it was still unfinished, so I hammered 
away until Friday — that is, yesterday. Then I brought it round to 
Mr. Harry Pinner. 

" ' Thank you very much,' said he. ' I fear that I underrated the 
difficulty of the task. This list will be of very material assistance to 

'' ' It took some time,' said I. 

" ' And now,' said he, ' I want you to make a list of the furniture 
shops, for they all sell crockery.' 

" ' Very good.' 

" ' And you can come up to-morrow evening at seven, and let me 
know how you are getting on. Don't overwork yourself. A couple 
of hours at Day's Music-Hall in the evening would do you no harm 
after }'our labours.' He laughed as he spoke, and I saw with a thrill 
that his second tooth upon the left-hand side had been very badly 
stuffed with gold." 

Sherlock Holmes rubbed his hands with delight, and I stared in 
astonishment at our client. 

" You may well look surprised, Dr. Watson, but it is this wa}'," 
said he. " When I was speaking to the other chap in London at the 
time that he laughed at my not going to Mawson's, I happened to 
notice that his tooth was stuffed in this very identical fashion. The 
glint of the gold in each case caught m\' eye, \-ou see. When I put 
that with the voice and figure being the same, and only those things 
altered which might be changed by a razor or a wig, I could not doubt 
that it was the same man. Of course, you expect two brothers to be 
alike, but not that they should have the same tooth stuffed in the 
same way. He bowed me out and I found m^-self in the street, 
hardly knowing whether I was on my head or my heels. Back I went 
to my hotel, put my head in a basin of cold water, and tried to think 
it out. Why had he sent mc from London to Birmingham ; why had 
he got there before me ; and why had he written a letter from himself 
to himself ? It was altogether too much for mc, and I could make 
no sense of it. And then suddenly it struck me that what was dark 
to me might be very light to Mr. Sherlock Holmes. I had just time 



to get up to town b}- the night train, to see him this morning, and to 
bring you both back with me to Birmingham." 

There was a pause after the stockbroker's clerk had concluded 
his surprising experience. Then Sherlock Holmes cocked his eye at 
me, leaning back on the cushions with a pleased and yet critical face, 
like a connoisseur who had just taken his first sip of a comet vintage. 

" Rather fine, Watson, is it not ? " said he. " There are points in 
it which please me. I think you will agree with me that an inter\new 
with Mr. Arthur Henry Pinner in the temporary offices of the Franco- 
Midland Hardware Company, Limited, would be a rather interesting 
experience for both of us." 

" But how can we do it ? " I asked. 

" Oh, easily enough," said Hall Pycroft, cheerily. " You are two 
friends of mine who are in want of a billet, and what could be more 
natural than that I should bring you both round to the managing 
director ? " 

" Quite so ! Of course ! " said Holmes. " I should like to have a 
look at the gentleman and see if I can make an}'thing of his little 
game. What qualities have )'ou, my friend, which would make your 

services so valuable? or is it possible that " he began biting his 

nails and staring blankly out of the window, and wc hardly drew 
another word from him until we were in New Street. 

At seven o'clock that evenin<j; we were walkincj, the three of us, 
down Corporation Street to the company's offices. 

" It is of no use our being at all before our time," said our client. 
" Pie only comes there to see me apparently, for the place is cieserted 
up to the very hour he names." 

" That is suggestive," remarked Holmes. 

" By Jove, I told you so ! " cried the clerk. " That's he walking 
ahead of us there." 

He pointed to a smallish, blonde, well-dressed man, who was 
bustling along the other side of the road. As we watched him he 
looked across at a boy who was bawling out the latest edition of the 
evening paper, and, running over among the cabs and 'buses, he bought 
one from him. Then clutching it in his hand he vanished through a 

" There he goes ! " cried Hall Pycroft. " Those are the company's 



offices into which he has gone. Come with me and I'll fix it up as 
easily as possible." 

Following his lead we ascended five stories, until we found our- 
selves outside a half-opened door, at which our client tapped. A voice 
within bade us " Come in," and we entered a bare, unfurnished room, 
such as Hall Pycroft had described. At the single table sat the man 
whom we had seen in the street, with his evening paper spread out in 
front of him, and as he looked up at us it seemed to me that I had 


never looked upon a face which bore such marks of grief, and of some- 
thing beyond grief— of a horror such as comes to few men in a life- 
time. His brow glistened with perspiration, his cheeks were of the dull 
dead white of a fish's bell>', and his eyes were wild and staring. He 
looked at his clerk as though he failed to recognise him, and I could 
see, by the astonishment depicted upon our conductor's face, that this 
was by no means the usual appearance of his emplo\-er. 

" You look ill, Mr. Pinner," he exclaimed. 

"Yes, I am not very well," answered the other, making obvious 
efforts to pull himself together, and licking his dry lips before he 


spoke. '' Who are these gentlemen whom you have brought with 
you ? " 

" One is Mr. Harris, of Bermondsey, and the other is Mr. Price, 
of this town," said our clerk, glibl}'. " The}- are friends ol mine, and 
gentlemen of experience, but they have been out of a place lor some 
little time, and they hoped that perhaps you might find an opening 
for them in the company's employment." 

" Very possibly ! Very possibly ! " cried Mr. Pinner, with a 
ghastly smile. " Yes, I have no doubt that we shall be able to do 
something for you. What is your particular line, Mr. Harris ? " 

" I am an accountant," said Holmes. 

" Ah, yes, we shall want something of the sort. And you, Mr. 
Price ? " 

" A clerk," said I. 

" I have every hope that the company may accommodate you. 
I will let you know about it as soon as we come to any conclusion. 
And now I beg that you will go. For God's sake, leave me to 
myself! " 

These last words were shot out of him, as though the constraint 
which he was evidcnth- setting upon himself had suddenly and 
utterly burst asunder. Holmes and I glanced at each other, and Hall 
Pycroft took a step towards the table. 

" You forget, Mr. Pinner, that I am here by appointment to 
receive some directions from you," said he. 

" Certainl}', Mr. Pycroft, certainl}'," the other answered, in a 
calmer tone. " You may wait here a moment, and there is no reason 
wh}' }-our friends should not wait with you. I will be cntircl\- at )-our 
service in three minutes, if I might trespass upon )'our patience so 
far.' He rose with a \ery courteous air, and bo\\'ing to us he passed 
out through a door at the further end of the room, which he closed 
behind him. 

" What now? " whispered Holmes. " Is he giving us the slip ? " 

" Impossible," answered Pycroft. 

" Why so ? " 

" That door leads into an inner room." 

" There is no exit ? " 



'' Is it furnished ? " 

'' It was empty yesterday." 

" Then what on earth can he be doing ? There is something 
which I don't understand in this matter. If ever a man was three 
parts mad with terror, that man's name is Pinner. What can have 
put the shivers on him } " 

" He suspects that we are detectives," I suggested. 

'' That's it,' said Pycroft. 

Holmes shootc his head. " He did not turn pale He zcas pale 
when we entered the room," said he. '■ It is just possible that " 

His words were interrupted by a sharp rat-tat from the direction 
of the inner door. 

" What the deuce is he knocking at his own door for ? " cried the 

Again and much louder came the rat-tat-tat. We all gazed 
expectantly at the closed door. Glancing at Holmes I saw his face 
turn rigid, and he leaned forward in intense c.Kcitement. Then 
suddenly came a low gurgling, gargling sound and a brisk drumming 
upon woodwork. Holmes sprang frantically across the room and 
pushed at the door. It was fastened on the inner side. Following 
his example, we threw ourselves upon it with all our weight. One 
hinge snapped, then the other, and down came the door with a crash. 
Rushing over it we found ourselves in the inner room. 

It was empty. 

But it was only for a moment that we were at fault. At one 
corner, the corner nearest the room which we had left, there was a 
second door. Holmes sprang to it and pulled it open. A coat and 
waistcoat were lying on the floor, and from a hook behind the door, 
with his own braces round nis neck, was hanging the managing 
director of the Franco-Midland Hardware Company. His knees 
were drawn up, his head hung at a dreadful angle to his body, and 
the clatter of his heels against the door made the noise which had 
broken in upon our conversation. In an instant I had caught him 
round the waist and held him up, while Holmes and P\'croft untied 
the elastic bands which had disappeared between the livid creases of 
skin. Then wc carried him into the other room, where he lay with a 
slate-coloured face, puffing his purple lips in and out with every 




breath — a dreadful wreck of all that he had been but five minutes 

" What do you think of him, Watson ? " asked Holmes. 

I stooped over him and examined him. His pulse was feeble 
and intermittent, but his breathing cjrew loncrer, and there was a little 
shivering of his eyelids which showed a thin white slit of ball 

" It has been touch and go with him," said I, " but he'll live now. 
Just open that window, and hand me the water carafe." 1 undid his 
collar, poured the cold water over his face, and raised and sank his 
arms until he drew a long natural breath. 

" It's only a question of time now," said I, as I turned away from him. 


Holmes stood by the table with his hands deep in his trousers 
pockets and his chin upon his breast. 

" I suppose we ought to call the police in now," said he ; "and )'et 
I confess that I like to give them a complete case when they come." 

" It's a blessed mystery to me," cried Pycroft, scratching his head. 
" Whatever they wanted to bring me all the way up here for, and 
then " 

" Pooh ! All that is clear enough," .said Holmes, impatiently. 
" It is this last sudden move." 

" You understand the rest, then ? " 

" I think that it is fairly obvious. What do you sa}-, Watson ?" 

I shrugged my shoulder 


" I must confess that I am out of m\- depths," said I. 

" Oh, surely, if you consider the events at first they can only point 
to one conclusion." 

" What do you make of them ? " 

" Well, the whole thing hinges upon two points. The first is the 
making of Pycroft write a declaration by which he entered the service 
of this preposterous company. Do you not see how very suggestive 
that is ? " 

" I am afraid I miss the point." 

" Well, why did they want him to do it ? Not as a business 
matter, for these arrangements are usually verbal, and there was no 
earthly business reason why this should be an exception. Don't you 
see, my young friend, that they were very anxious to obtain a specimen 
of your handwriting, and had no other way of doing it?" 

" And why ? " 

" Quite so. Why ? When we answer that, we have made some 
progress with our little problem. Why? There can be onh^ one 
adequate reason. Someone wanted to learn to imitate your writing, 
and had to procure a specimen of it first. And now if we pass on to 
the second point, we find that each throws light upon the other. That 
point is the request made by Pinner that you should not resign your 
place, but should leave the manager of this important business in the 
full expectation that a Mr. Hall Pjxroft, whom he had never seen, 
was about to enter the office upon the Monday morning." 

" Mv God ! " cried our client, " what a blind beetle I have been ! " 


" Now you see the point about the handwriting. Suppose that 
someone turned up in your place who wrote a completely different 
hand from that in which you had applied for the vacancy, of course 
the game would have been up. But in the interval the rogue learnt 
to imitate you, and his position was therefore secure, as I presume 
that nobody in the office had ever set eyes upon you ? " 

" Not a soul," groaned Hall Pycroft. 

" Very good. Of course, it was of the utmost importance to 
prevent you from thinking better of it, and also to keep you from 
coming into contact with anyone who might tell you that your double 
was at work in Mawson's office. Therefore, they gave you a hand- 
some advance on }'our salary, and ran }'ou off to the Midlands, where 
they gave you enough work to do to prevent your going to London, 
where you might have burst their little game up. That is all plain 

" But why should this man pretend to be his own brother ? " 

" Well, that is pretty clear also. There are evidently only two of 
them in it. The other is personating you at the office. This one 
acted as your engager, and then found that he could not find you 
an employer without admitting a third person into his plot. That he 
was most unwilling to do. He changed his appearance as far as he 
could, and trusted that the likeness, which }'ou could not fail to 
observe, would be put down to a family resemblance. But for the 
happy chance of the gold stuffing your suspicions would probably 
have never been roused." 

Hall P}xroft shook his clenched hands in the air. " Good Lord ! " 
he cried. " While I have been fooled in this way, what has this 
other Hall Pycroft been doing at Mawson's ? What should we do, 
Mr. Holmes ? Tell me what to do ! " 

" We must wire to Mawson's." 

" They shut at twelve on Saturda}'S." 

"Never mind ; there may be some door-keeper or attendant " 

" Ah, yes ; they keep a permanent guard there on account of the 
value of the securities that they hold. I remember hearing it talked 
of in the City." 

" Very good, we shall wire to him, and see if all is well, and if a 
clerk of your name is working there. That is clear enough, but what 




is not so clear is \\\\\ at sight of us one of the rogues should instantly 
walk out of the room and hang himself." 

" The paper ! " croaked a voice behind us. The man was sitting 
up, blanched and ghastl\% with returning reason in his e\-es, and hands 
which rubbed nervousK' at the broad red band which still encircled 
his throat. 

" The paper ! Of course ! " yelled Holmes, in a paroxysm of 
excitement. " Idiot that I was ! I thought so much of our visit that 
the paper never entered my head for an instant. To be sure, the 
secret must lie there." He flattened it out upon the table, and a cry 
of triumph burst from his lips. 

"Look at this, Watson ! " he cried. " It is a London paper, an 


early edition of the Evening Standard. Here is what we want. 
Look at the headHnes — ' Crime in the City. Murder at Mawson and 
WilHams'. Gigantic Attempted Robbery ; Capture of the Criminal' 
Here, Watson, we are all equally anxious to hear it, so kindly read it 
aloud to us." 

It appeared from its position in the paper to have been the one 
event of importance in town, and the account of it ran in this way : — 

" A desperate attempt at robbery, culminating in the death of 
one man and the capture of the criminal, occurred this afternoon in 
the Cit}'. For some time back Mawson and Williams, the famous 
financial house, have been the guardians of securities which amount in 
the aggregate to a sum of considerably over a million sterling. So 
conscious was the manager of the responsibility which devolved upon 
him in consequence of the great interests at stake, that safes of the 
very latest construction have been employed, and an armed watchman 
has been left day and night in the building. It appears that last 
week a new clerk, named Hall Pycroft, was engaged by the firm. 
This person appears to have been none other than Beddington, the 
fam.ous forger and cracksman, who, with his brother, has only recently 
emerged from a five years' spell of penal servitude. By some means, 
which are not yet clear, he succeeded in winning, under a false name, 
this official position in the office, which he utilized in order to obtain 
mouldings of various locks, and a thorough knowledge of the position 
of the strong room and the safes. 

" It is customar}' at Mawson's for the clerks to leave at midday 
on Saturday. Sergeant Tuson, of the City Police, was somewhat 
surprised therefore to see a gentleman with a carpet bag come down 
the steps at twenty minutes past one. His suspicions being aroused, 
the sergeant followed the man, and with the aid of Constable Pollock 
succeeded, after a most desperate resistance, in arresting him. It was 
at once clear that a daring and gigantic robbery had been committed. 
Nearly a hundred thousand pounds' worth of American railway bonds, 
with a large amount of scrip in other mines and companies, were dis- 
covered in the bag. 

" On examining the premises the body of the unfortunate watch- 
man was found doubled up and thrust into the largest of the safes, 
where it would not have been disco\crcd initil M(>nda\- morning had 



it not been for the prompt action of Sergeant Tuson. Tlie man's 
skull had been shattered by a blow from a poker, delivered from 
behind. There could be no doubt that Beddington had obtained 
entrance by pretending that he had left something behind him, and 
having murdered the watchman, rapidly rifled the large safe, and then 
made off with his booty. His brother, who usually works with him, 
has not appeared in this job, so far as can at present be ascertained, 
although the police are making energetic inquiries as to his where- 

" Well, we may save the police some little trouble in that 
direction," said Holmes, glancing at the haggard figure huddled up by 


the window. " Human nature is a strange mixture, Watson. You 
see that even a villain and a murderer can inspire such affection that 
his brother turns to suicide when he learns that his neck is forfeited. 
However, we have no choice as to our action. The doctor and I will 
remain on guard, Mr. Pycroft, if you will have the kindness to step 
out for the police." 


HAVE some papers here," said m}' friend Sherlock 
Holmes, as we sat one winter's night on either side of 
the fire, " which I really think, Watson, it would be 
worth your while to glance over. These are the 
documents in the extraordinary case of the Gloria 
Scott, and this is the message which struck Justice of the Peace 
Trevor dead with horror when he read it." 

He had picked from a drawer a little tarnished cylinder, and, 
undoing the tape, he handed me a short note scrawled upon a half 
sheet of slate-grey paper. 

" The supply of game for London is going steadily up," it ran. 
" Head-keeper Hudson, we believe, has been now told to receive all 
orders for fly paper, and for preservation of your hen pheasant's life." 

As I glanced up from reading this enigmatical message I saw 
Holmes chuckling at the expression upon my face. 

" You look a little bewildered," said he. 

" I cannot see how such a message as this could inspire horror. 
It seems to me to be rather grotesque than otherwise." 

" Very likely. Yet the fact remains that the reader, who was a 
fine, robust old man, was knocked clean down by it, as if it had been 
the butt-end of a pistol.' 

' You arouse my curiosity," said I. " But why did you say just 
now that there were very particular reasons why I should study this 
case ? " 

" Because it was the first in which I was ever ens-acfed." 

I had often endeavoured to elicit from my companion what had 
first turned his mind in the direction of criminal research, but I had 
never caught him before in a communicative humour. Now he sat 



forward in his arm-chair, and spread ovit tlie documents upon his 
knees. Then he ht his pipe and sat for some time smoking and 
turning them over. 

" You never heard mc talk of Victor Trevor ? " he asked. " He 
was the only friend I made during the two years that I was at college. 
I was never a very sociable fellow, Watson, always rather fond of 
moping in my rooms and working out my own little methods of 
thought, so that I never mixed much with the men of my )-ear. Bar 
fencing and boxing I had few athletic tastes, and then my line of 
study was quite distinct from that of the other fellows, so that we had 
no points of contact at all. Trevor was the only man I knew, and 
that only through the accident of his bull-terrier freezing on to my 
ankle one morning as I went down to chapel. 

" It was a prosaic way of forming a friendship, but it was effective. 
I was laid by the heels for ten days, and Trevor used to come in to 
inquire after me. At first it was only a minute's chat, but soon his 
visits lengthened, and before the end of the term we were close 
friends. He was a hearty, full-blooded fellow, full of spirit and 
energy, the very opposite to me in most respects ; but we found we 



had some subjects in common, and it was a bond of union when I 
learned that he was as friendless as I. Finally, he invited me down 
to his father's place at Donnithorpe, in Norfolk, and I accepted 
hospitality for a month of the long vacation. 

" Old Trevor was evidently a man of some wealth and considera- 
tion, a J. P. and a landed proprietor. Donnithorpe is a little hamlet 
just to the north of Langmere, in the country of the Broads. The 
house was an old-fashioned, wide-spread, oak-beamed, brick building, 
with a fine lime-lined avenue leading up to it. There was excellent 
wild duck shooting in the fens, remarkably good fishing, a small but 
select library, taken over, as I understood, from a former occupant, 
and a tolerable cook, so that it would be a fastidious man who could 
not put in a pleasant month there. 

" Trevor senior was a widower, and my friend was his only son. 
There had been a daughter, I heard, but she had died of diphtheria 
while on a visit to Birmingham. The father interested me extremely. 
He was a man of little culture, but with a considerable amount of 
rude strength both physically and mentally. He knew hardly any 
books, but he had travelled far, had seen much of the world, and had 
remembered all that he had learned. In person he was a thick-set, 
burly man, with a shock of grizzled hair, a brown, weather-beaten 
face, and blue eyes which were keen to the verge of fierceness. Yet 
he had a reputation for kindness and charity on the country 
side, and was noted for the leniency of his sentences from the 

" One evening, shortly after my arrival, we were sitting over a 
glass of port after dinner, when young Trevor began to talk about 
those habits of observation and inference which I had already formed 
into a system, although I had not yet appreciated the part which they 
were to play in my life. The old man evidently thought that his son 
was exaggerating in his description of one or two trivial feats which I 
had performed. 

" ' Come now, Mr. Holmes,' said he, laughing good-humouredly, 
' I'm an excellent subject, if you can deduce anything from me.' 

" ' I fear there is not very much,' I answered. ' I might suggest 
that you have gone about in fear of some personal attack within the 
last twelve months.' 


'' The laugh faded from his Hps, and he stared at me in great 

•'■ ' Well, that's true enough,' said he. You know, Vic;;or,' turning 
to his son, ' when we broke up that poaching gang, they swore to 
knife us ; and Sir Edward Hoby has actually been attacked. I've 
always been on my guard since then, though I have no idea how you 
know it.' 

" ' You have a very handsome stick,' I answered. By the 
inscription, I observed that you had not had it more than a }"ear. But 
you have taken some pains to bore the head of it, and pour melted 
lead into the hole, so as to make it a formidable weapon. I argued 
that you would not take such precautions unless }'ou had some danger 
to fear.' 

"' Anything else ? ' he asked, smiling. 

" ' You have boxed a good deal in your \-outh.' 

"' Right again. How did you know it ? Is my nose knocked a 
little out of the straight?' 

" ' No,' said I. 'It is your ears. They have the peculiar flattening 
and thickening which marks the boxing man.' 

" ' Anything else ? ' 

" ' You have done a great deal of digging, by j-our callosities/ 

" ' Made all my money at the gold-fields.' 

" ' You have been in New Zealand.' 

*' ' Right again.' 

"' You have visited Japan.' 

" ' Quite true.' 

" ' And you have been most intimately associated with someone 
whose initials were J. A., and whom you afterwards were eager to 
entirely forget.' 

" Mr. Trevor stood slov.'ly up, fixed his large bluee}-es on me with 
a strange, wild stare, and then pitched forward on his face among the 
nutshells which strewed the cloth, in a dead faint. 

" You can imagine, Watson, how^ shocked both his son and I were. 
His attack did not last long, however, for when we undid his collar 
and sprinkled the water from one of the finger glasses over his face, 
he gave a gasp or two and sat up. 

" * Ah, boys ! ' said he, forcing a smile. ' I hope I haven't 


frightened you. Strong as I look, there is a weak place in my heart, 
and it does not take much to knock me over. I don't know how you 
manage this, Mr. Holmes, but it seems to me -that all the detectives of 
fact and of fanc}' would be children in your hands. That's your line 
of life, sir, and \-ou may take the word of a man who has seen some- 
thing of the world.' 

" And that recommendation, with the exaggerated estimate of m\- 
ability with v/hich he prefaced it, was, if you will believe me, Watson, 
the very first thing which ever made me feel that a profession might 
be made out of what had up to that time been the merest hobb}-. 
At the moment, however, I was too much concerned at the sudden 
illness of m\' host to think of anything else. 

" ' 1 hope that I have said nothing to pain you/ said I. 

" ' Well, you certainly touched upon rather a tender point. Might 
I ask how you know and how much you know? ' He spoke now in a 
half jesting fashion, but a look of terror still lurked at the back of 
his e\'es. 

" ' It is simplicity itself,' said I. When you bared your arm to 
c.raw that fish into the boat I saw that " J. A." had been tattooed in 
the bend of the elbow. The letters were still legible, but it was 
perfectly clear from their blurred appearance, and from the staining 
of the skin round them, that efforts had been made to obliterate them. 
It was obvious, then, that those initials had once been \er\' familiar to 
>-ou, and that you had afterwards wished to forget them.' 

" ' What an eye you have ! ' he cried, with a sigh of relief. 'It is 
just as }-ou say. But we won't talk of it. Of all ghosts, the ghosts 
of our old loves are the worst. Come into the billiard-room and have 
a quiet'cigar.' 

" From that da}-, amid all his cordiality, there was al\va}'s a touch 
of suspicion in Mr. Trevor's manner towards me. Even his son 
remarked it. ' You've given the go\-ernor such a turn,' said he, ' that 
he'll never be sure again of what )-ou know and what }-ou don't know.' 
He did not mean to show it, I am sure, but it was so strongl)' in his 
mind that it peeped out at every action. At last I became so con- 
vinced that I was causing him uneasiness, that I drew m\- visit to a On the very day, however, before I left an inciden.t occurred 
which proved in the sequel to be of importance. 


" We were sitting out upon the lawn on garden chairs, the three 
of us, basking in the sun and admiring the view across the Broads, 
wlicn the maid came out to say that there was a man at the door who 
wanted to sec Mr. Trevor. 

" ' What is his name ? ' asked \n\ host. 

" ' He would not give an\-.' 

" ' What does he want, then ? ' 

" ' He says that you kno\\- him, and that iie only wants a 
moment's conversation.' 

'"Show him round here.' An instant afterwards there appeared 
a little wizened fellow, with a cringing manner and a shambling style 
of walking. He wore an open jacket, with a splotch of tar on the 
sleeve, a red and black check shirt, dungaree trousers, and heav}- boots 
badly worn. His face was thin and brown and craft}-, with a 
perpetual smile upon it, which showed an irregular line of )-ellow 
teeth, and his crinkled hands were half-closed in a way that is 
distinctive of sailors. As he came slouching across the lawn I heard 
Mr. Trevor make a sort of hiccoughing noise in his throat, and, 
jumping out of his chair, he ran into the house. He was back in a 
moment, and I smelt a strong reek of brandy as he passed me. 

" ' Well, my man,' said he, " what can I do for }^ou ? ' 

" The sailor stood looking at him with puckered eyes, and w ith 
the same loose-lipped smile upon his face. 

" ' You don't know me ? ' he asked. 

" ' Wh}% dear me, it is surely Hudson ! ' said Mr. Trevor, in a tone 
of surprise. 

" ' Hudson it is, sir,' said the seaman. ' Wh\-, it's thirty year and 
more since I saw you last. Here you are in your house, and jne still 
picking my salt meat out of the harness cask.' 

" ' Tut, you will find that I ha\e not forgotten old times,' cried Mr. 
Trevor, and, walking towards the sailor, he said something in a low 
voice. ' Go into the kitchen,' he continued out loud, ' and you will get 
food and drink. I have no doubt that I shall find you a situation.' 

"'Thank you, sir,' said the seaman, touching his forelock. ' I'm 
just off a two-yearer in an eight-knot tramp, short-handed at that, and 
I wants a rest. I thought I'd get it either with Mr. Beddoes or with 




" ' Ah ! ' cried Mr. Trevor, ' you know where Mr. Beddoes is ?' 
" ' Bless you, sir, I know where all my old friends are,' said the 
fellow, with a sinister smile, and slouched off after the maid to the 
kitchen. Mr. Trevor mumbled something to us about having been 
shipmates with the man \\hen he was going back to the diggings, and 
then, leaving us on the lawn, he went indoors. An hour later, when 
wc entered the house we found him stretched dead drunk upon the 
dining-room sofa. The whole incident left a most ugly impression 
upon my mind, and I was not sorry next day to leave Donnithorpe 
behind me, for I felt that my presence must be a source of embarrass- 
ment to my friend. 

" All this occurred during the first month of the long vacation. 
I went up to my London rooms, where I spent seven weeks working 
out a few experiments in organic chemistry. One da\-, however, 
when the autumn was far advanced and the vacation drawing to a 


close, I received a telegram from my friend imploring me to return to 
Donnithorpe, and saying that he was in great need of my advice and 
assistance. Of course I dropped everything, and set out for the 
north once more. 

" He m.ct me with the dog-cart at the station, and I was at a glance 
that the last tw(j months had been very trying ones for him. He had 
grown thin and careworn, and had lost the loud, cheery manner for 
which he had been remarkable. 

" ' The governor is dying,' were the first words he said. 

" ' Impossible ! ' I cried. ' What is the matter ? ' 

" ' Apoplexy. Nervous shock. He's been on the verge all day. 
I doubt if we shall find him alive.' 

" I was, as you may think, Watson, horrified at this unexpected 

" ' What has caused it ? ' I asked. 

" ' Ah, that is the point. Jump in, and we can talk it over while 
we drive. You remember that fellow who came upon the evening 
before you left us ? ' 

" ' Perfectly.' 

" ' Do you know who it was that we let into the house that day ? ' 

" ' I have no idea.' 

" ' It was the Devil, Holmes ! ' he cried. 

" I stared at him in astonishment. 

" ' Yes ; it was the Devil himself We have not had a peaceful 
hour since — not one. The governor has never held up his head from 
that evening, and now the life has been crushed out of him, and his 
heart broken all through this accursed Hudson.' 

" ' What power had he, then ? ' 

" ' Ah, that is what I would give so much to know. The kindly, 
charitable, good old governor ! How could he have fallen into the 
clutches of such a ruffian ? But I am so glad that you have come, 
Holmes. I trust very much to your judgment and discretion, and I 
know that you will advise me for the best.' 

" We were dashing along the smooth, white country road, with the 
long stretch of Broads in front of us glimmering in the red light of 
the setting sun. From a grove upon our left I could already see the 
high chimneys and the flag-staff which marked the squire's dwelling. 


" ' My father made the fellow gardener,' said my companion, ' and 
then, as that did not satisfy him, he was promoted to be butler. The 
house seemed to be at his mercy, and he wandered about and did 
what he chose in it. The maids complained of his drunken habits 
and his vile language. The dad raised their wages all round to re- 
compense them for the annoyance. The fellow would take the boat 
and my father's best gun and treat himself to little shooting parties. 
And all this with such a sneering, leering, insolent face, that I would 
have knocked him down twenty times over if he had been a man of 
my own age. I tell you. Holmes, I have had to keep a tight hold 
upon myself all this time, and now I am asking myself whether, if I 
had let m}'self go a little more, I might not have been a wiser man. 

" 'Well, matters went from bad to worse with us, and this animal, 
Hudson, became more and more intrusive, until at last, on his making 
some insolent reply to my father in my presence one day, I took him 
by the shoulder and turned him out of the room. He slunk away 
with a livid face, and two venomous eyes which uttered more threats 
than his tongue could do. 1 don't know what passed between the 
poor dad and him after that, but the dad came to me next day and 
asked me whether I would mind apologizing to Hudson. I refused, 
as you can imagine, and asked my father how he could allow such a 
wretch to take such liberties with himself and his hou.sehold. 

" ' Ah, my boy,' said he ' it is all very well to talk, but you don't 
now how I am placed. But )'ou shall know, Victor. I'll see that 
you shall know, come what may ! You wouldn't believe harm of 
your poor old father, would you, lad ? ' He was very much moved, 
and shut himself up in the study all day, where I could see through 
the window that he was writing busily. 

" ' That evening there came what seemed to me to be a grand 
release, for Hudson told us that he was going to lca\c us. He walked 
into the dining-room as we sat after dinner, and announced his 
intention in the thick voice of a half-drunken man. 

"'I've had enough of Norfolk,' said he. 'I'll run down to Mr. 
Beddoes, in Hampshire. He'll be as glad to see me as you were, I 

" ' You're not going away in an unkind spirit, Hudson, I hope ? ' 
said my father, with a tameness which made my blood boil. 



'"I've not liad my 'polotjy,' said he, sulkily, glancini; in my 

" ' Victor, \-ou will acknowledge that }-ou have used this worthy 
fellow rather roughly ? said the dad, 

turnmg to me. 

" ' On the contrar}', I think that 
we have both shown extraordinar}- 
patience towards him,' I answered. 


" ' Oh, you do, do )-ou ? ' he snarled. ' Very good, mate. We'll 
see about that ! ' He slouched out of the room, and half an hour 
afterwards left the house, leaxing my father in a state of pitiable 
nervousness. Night after night I heard him pacing his room, and it 
was just as he was recovering his confidence that the blow did 
at last fall. 

" ' And how ? ' I asked, eagerly. 

" ' In a most extraordinary fashion. A letter arrived for my 
father yesterday evening, bearing the Fordingbridge postmark. My 
father read it, clapped both his hands to his head and began running 


round the room in little circles like a man who has been driven out of 
his senses. When I at last drew him down on to the sofa, his mouth 
and eyelids were all puckered on one side, and I saw that he had 
a stroke. Dr. Fordham came over at once, and we put him to bed ; 
but the paralysis has spread, he has shown no sign of returning 
consciousness, and I think that we shall hardly find him alive.' 

" ' You horrify me, Trevor ! ' I cried. ' What, then, could have 
been in this letter to cause so dreadfuha. result ? ' 

" ' Nothing. There lies the inexplicable part of it. The message 
was absurd and tri\ial. Ah, my God, it is as I feared ! ' 

" As he spoke we came round the curve of the avenue, and saw 
in the fading light that every blind in the house had been drawn down. 
.\s we dashed up to the door, my friend's face convulsed with grief, a 
gentleman in black emerged from it. 

" ' When did it happen, doctor ? ' asked Trevor. 

" ' Almost immediateh' after j-ou left.' 

" ' Did he recover consciousness ? ' 

" ' For an instant before the end.' 

" ' An}' message for me ? ' 

" ' Only that the papers were in t>:e back drawer of the Japanese 

" Mv friend ascended with the doctor lo the chpmber of death, 
^\■hile I remained in the stud}', turning the whole matter over and 
over in my head, and feeling as sombre as ever I had done in 
m}' life. What was the joast of this Trevor : pugilist, traveller, and 
gold-digger ; and how had he placed himself in the power of this 
acid-faced seaman ? Wh}-, too, should he faint at an allusion to 
the half-effaced initials upon his arm, and die of fright when he had 
a letter from Fordingbridge ? Then I remembered that Fordingbridge 
was in Hampshire, and that this Mr. Beddoes, whom the seaman had 
gone to visit, and presumably to blackmail, had also been mentioned 
as living in Hampshire. The letter, then, might either come from 
Hudson, the seaman, saying that he had betra}'ed the guilty secret 
which appeared to exist, or it might come from Beddoes, warning an 
old confederate that such a betrayal was imininent. So far it seemed 
clear enough. But, then, how could the letter be trivial and grotesque 
as described by the son? He must have misread it. If so, it must 


have been one of those ingenious secret codes which mean one thing 
while they seem to mean another. I must see this letter. If there 
were a hidden meaning in it, I was confident that I could pluck it 
forth. For an hour I sat pondering over it in the gloom, until at last 
a weeping maid brought in a lamp, and close at her heels came my 
friend Trevor, pale but composed, with these very papers which lie 
upon my knee held in his grasp. He sat down opposite to me, drew 
the lamp to the edge of the table, and handed me a short note 
scribbled, as you see, upon a single sheet of grey paper. ' The supply 
of game for London is going steadily up,' it ran. ' Head-keeper 
Hudson, we believe, has been now told to receive all orders for fly 
paper, and for preservation of your hen pheasant's life.' 

" I daresay my face looked as bewildered as yours did just now 
when first I read this message. Then I re-read it very carefull}'. It 
was evidently as I had thought, and some second meaning must be 
buried in this strange combination of words. Or could it be that 
there was a prearranged significance to such phrases as ' fly paper ' 
and ' hen pheasant ' ? Such a meaning would be arbitrar}-, and could 
not be deduced in an}- way. And }'et I was loth to believe that this 
was the case, and the presence of the word ' Hudson ' seemed to show 
that the subject of the message was as I had guessed, and that it was 
from Beddoes rather than the sailor. I tried it backwards, but the 
combination, ' Life pheasant's hen,' was not encouraging. Then I 
tried alternate words, but neither ' The of for ' nor ' supply game 
London ' promised to throw any light upon it. And then in an 
instant the key of the riddle was in my hands, and I saw that every 
third word beginning with the first would give a message which might 
well drive old Trevor to despair. 

" It was short and terse, the warning, as I now read it to my 
companion : — 

" ' The game is up. Hudson has told all. Fly for your life.' 

'■' Victor Trevor sank his face into his shaking hands. ' It must 
be that, I suppose,' said he. ' This is worse than death, for it means 
disgrace as well. But what is the meaning of these " head-keepers " 
and " hen pheasants " ? ' 

" ' It means nothing to the message, but it might mean a good 
deal to us if we had no other means of discovering the sender. You 




see that he has begun by writing, "The game is," 

and so on. Afterwards he had, to fulfil the prearranged cipher, to 
fill in any two words in each space. He would naturally use the first 
words which came to his mind, and if there were so many which 
referred to sport among them, you may be tolerabl}' sure that he is 
either an ardent shot or interested in breeding. Do you know 
anything of this Beddoes ? ' 

" ' Why, now that you mention it,' said he ' I remember that my 
poor father used to have an invitation from him to shoot over his 
preserves every autumn.' 

" ' Then it is undoubtedly from him that the note comes, said I. 
' It only remains for us to find out what this secret was which the 
sailor Hudson seems to have held over the heads of these two wealth}' 
and respected men.' 

" ' Alas, Holmes, I fear that it is one of sin and shame ! ' cried 
my friend. ' But from }'ou I shall have no secrets. Here is the 
statement which was drawn up by my father when he knew that the 
danger from Hudson had become imminent. I found it in the 


Japanese cabinet, as he told the doctor. Take it and read it to me, 
for I have neither the strength nor the courage to do it mx'sclf.' 

" These arc the very papers, Watson, whicli he handed to mc, 
and I will read them to you as I read them in the old stud\' that 
night to him. They are indorsed outside, as you see : ' Some 
particulars of the voyage of the barque Gloria Scott, from her 
lea\-ing Falmouth on the 8th October, 1855, to her destruction iit 
N. lat. 15° 20', W. long. 25" 14', oti November 6th.' It is in the form 
of a letter, and runs in this \va\- : — 

" My dear, dear son, — Now that approaching disgrace begins to 
darken the closing years of m\- life, I can write with all truth and 
honesty that it is not the terror of the law, it is not the loss of my 
position in the county, nor is it my fall in the eyes of all who have 
known me, which cuts me to the heart ; but it is the thought that 
you should come to blush for me — }-ou who love me, and who have 
seldom, I hope, had reason to do other than respect me. But if the 
blow falls which is for ever hanging over me, then I should wish \'Ou 
to read this that you may know straight from me how far I have been 
to blame. On the other hand, if all should go well (which ma}^ kind 
God Almighty grant !), then if b\' an)- chance this paper should be 
still undestroyed, and should fall into \-our hands, I conjure }'ou by 
all you hold sacred, b\- the memory of \'our dear mother, and by the 
love which has been between us, to hurl it into the fire, and to never 
give one thought to it again. 

" If, then, }-our eye goes on to read this line, I know that I shall 
already have been exposed and dragged from my home, or, as is more 
likely — for you know that my heart is weak — be l}'ing with my tongue 
sealed for ever in death. In either case the time for suppression is 
past, and every word which I tell }'ou is the naked truth ; and this I 
swear as I hope for mercy. 

" My name, dear lad, is not Trevor. I was James Armitage in 
my younger days, and you can understand now the shock that it was 
to me a few weeks ago, when }'oin- college friend addressed me in 
words which seemed to imply that he had surmised my secret. As 
Armitage it was that I entered a London banking house, and as 
Armitage I was convicted of breaking my country's laws, and was 
sentenced to transportation. Do not think very harshly of me, laddie. 


It was a debt of honour, so-called, which I had to pa)-, and I used 
money which was not m}^ own to do it, in the certainty that 1 could 
replace it before there could be any possibility of its being missed. 
But the most dreadful ill-luck pursued me. The money which I had 
reckoned upon never came to hand, and a premature examination of 
accounts exposed my deficit. The case might have been dealt 
leniently with, but the laws were more harshly administered thirty 
years ago than now, and on my twenty-third birthday I found myself 
chained as a felon with thirty-seven other convicts in the 'tween decks 
of the barque Gloria Scott., bound for Australia. 

" It was the year '55, when the Crimean War was at its height, 
and the old convict ships had been largely used as transports in the 
Black Sea. The Government was compelled therefore to use smaller 
and less suitable vessels for sending out their prisoners. The Gloria 
Scott had been in the Chinese tea trade, but she was an old-fashioned, 
heavy-bowed, broad-beamed craft, and the new clippers had cut her 
out. She was a 500-ton boat, and besides her thirty-eight gaol-birds, 
she carried twenty-six of a crew, eighteen soldiers, a captain, three 
mates, a doctor, a chaplain, and four warders. Nearly a hundred 
souls were in her, all told, when we set sail from Falmouth. 

" The partitions between the cells of the convicts, instead of 
being of thick oak, as is usual in convict ships, were quite thin and 
frail. The man next to me upon the aft side was one whom I had 
particularly noticed when we were led down to the qua}-. He was 
a young man with a clear, hairless face, a long thin nose, and rather 
nutcracker jaws. He carried his head very jauntily in the air, had a 
swaggering style of walking, and was above all else remarkable for 
his extraordinary height. I don't think any of cur heads would come 
up to his shoulder, and I am sure that he could not have measured 
less than six and a half feet. It was strange among so many sad and 
weary faces to see one which was full of energ\' and resolution. The 
sicrht of it was to me like a fire in a snowstorm. I was glad then to 
find that he was my neighbour, and gladder still when, in the dead of 
the night, I heard a whisper close to my ear, and found that he had 
managed to cut an opening in the board which separated us. 

" ' Halloa, chummy ! ' said he, ' what's your name, and v/hat are 
you here for ? ' 



" I answered him, and asked in turn whom I was talkinc^ with. 

"'I'm Jack Prendergast,' said he, ' and, by God, you'll learn to 
bless my name before you've done with me ! ' 

" I remembered hearing of his case, for it was one which had 
made an immense sensa- 
tion throughout the •■^^ 
country, some time before 
my own arrest. He was a 
man of good family and 
of great ability, but of 
incurably vicious habits, 
who had, by an ingenious 
system of fraud, obtained 
huge sums of money from 
the leading London mer- 

" ' Ah, ah ! You re- 
member my case ? ' said 
he, proudly. 

" ' Very well indeed.' 

" ' Then maybe you 
remember something queer 
about it ? ' 

'"What was that, 
then ? ' 

" ' I'd had nearly a 
quarter of a million, hadn't 

" ' So it was said.' 

" ' But none was re- 
covered, eh ? ' 

" ' No.' 

" ' Well, where d'ye suppose the balance is ? ' he asked. 

" ' I have no idea,' said I. 

'"Right between my finger and thumb,' he cried. ' By God, I've 
got more pounds to my name than you have hairs on your head. 
And if you've money, my son, and know how to handle it and spread 



it, )^ou can do anything ! Now, you don't think it likely that a man 
who could do anything is going to wear his breeches out sitting in the 
stinking hold of a rat-gutted, beetle-ridden, mouldy old coffin of a 
China coaster ? No, sir, such a man will look after himself, and will 
look after his chums. You ma}' lay to that ! You hold on to him, 
and you may kiss the Book that he'll haul you through.' 

" That was his style of talk, and at first I thought it meant 
nothing, but after a while, v/htn he had tested me and swore me in 
with all possible solemnity, he let me understand that there really was 
a plot to gain command of the vessel. A dozen of the prisoners had 
hatched it before they came aboard ; Prendcrgast was the leader, and 
his money was the motive power. 

" ' I'd a partner,' said he, 'a rare good man, as true as a stock to 
a barrel. He's got the dibbs, he has, and where do you think he is at 
this moment ? Why, he's the chaplain of this ship — the chaplain, no 
less ! He came aboard with a black coat and his papers right, and 
money enough in his box to buy the thing right up from keel to 
main-truck. The crew are his, body and soul. He could buy 'em at 
so much a gross with a cash discount, and he did it before ever they 
signed on. He's got two of the warders and Mercer the second mate, 
and he'd get the captain himself if he thought him worth it.' 

" ' What are we to do, then ? ' I asked. 

" ' What do you think ? ' said he. ' We'll make the coats of some 
of these soldiers redder than ev^er the tailor did.' 

" ' But they are armed,' said I 

" ' And so shall we be, my boy. There's a brace of pistols for 
every mother's son of us, and if we can't carry this ship, with the 
crew at our back, it's time we were all sent to a young Miss's boarding 
school. You speak to your mate on the left to-night, and see if he is 
to be trusted.' 

" I did so, and found my other neighbour to be a young fellow in 
much the same position as myself, whose crime had been forger}'. 
His name was Evans, but he afterwards changed it, like myself, and 
he is now a rich and prosperous man in the South of England. He 
was ready enough to join the conspiracy, as the only means of saving 
ourselves, and before we had crossed the Bay there were only two of 
the prisoners who were not in the secret. One of these was of weak 



mind, and we did not dare to trust liim, and the other was suffering 
from jaundice, and could not be of any use to us. 

" From the beginning there was really nothing to prevent us 
taking possession of the ship. The crew \\erc a set <.,{ ruffians, 
specially picked for the job. The sham chaplain came into our cells 
to exhort us, carrying a black bag, supposed to be full of tracts ; and 
so often did he come that by the third day we had each stowed away 
at the foot of our bed a file, a brace of pistols, a pound of powder, 
and twenty slugs. Two of the warders were agents of Prendergast, 
and the second mate was his right-hand man. The captain, the two 
mates, two warders, Lieutenant Martin, his eighteen soldiers, and the 
doctor were all that we had against us. Yet, safe as it was, we deter- 
mined to neglect no precaution, and to make our attack suddenly at 
night. It came, however, more quickly than we expected, and in this 
way :— 

" One evening, about the third week after our start, the doctor 
had come down to see one of the prisoners, who was ill, and, putting 
his hand down on the bottom of his bunk, he felt the outline of the 
pistols. If he had been silent he might ha\e blown the whole thing ; 
but he was a nervous little chap, so he gave a cry of surprise and 
turned so pale, that the man knew what was up in an instant and 
seized him. He was gagged before he could give the alarm, and tied 
down upon the bed. He had unlocked the door that led to the deck, 
and we were through it in a rush. The two sentries were shot down, 
and so was a corporal who came running to see what was the matter. 
There were two more soldiers at the door of the state-room, and their 
muskets seemed not to be loaded, for they never fired upon us, and 
the}^ were shot while trying to fix their bayonets. Then we rushed 
on into the captain's cabin, but as we pushed open the door there was 
an explosion from within, and there he lay with his head on the chart 
of the Atlantic, which was pinned upon the table, while the chaplain 
stood, with a smoking pistol in his hand, at his elbow. The two 
mates had both been seized by the crew, and the whole business 
seemed to be settled. 

" The state-room was next the cabin, and we flocked in there and 
flopped down on the settees all speaking together, for we were just 
mad with the feeling that we were free once more. There were 




lockers all round, and Wilson, the sham chaplain, knocked one of 
them in, and pulled out a dozen of brown sherry. We cracked off 
the necks of the bottles, poured the stuff out into tumblers, and were 
just tossing them off, when in an instant, without warning, there came 
the roar of muskets in our ears, and the saloon was so full of smoke 
that we could not see across the table. When it cleared away again 
the place was a shambles. Wilson and eight others were wriggling 
on the top of each other on the floor, and the blood and the brown 
sherry on that table turn me sick now when I think of it. 
We were so cowed by the sight that I think we should have given the 
job up if it had not been for Prendergast. He bellowed like a bull, 
and rushed for the door with all that were left alive at his heels. Out 
we ran, and there on the poop were the lieutenant aird ten of his men. 
The swing skylights above the saloon table had been a bit open, and 
they had fired on us through the slit. We got on them before they 
could load, and they stood to it like men, but we had the upper hand 
of them, and in five minutes it was all over. My God ! was there ever 


a slaughter-house like that ship ? Prendergast was like a raging devil, 
and he picked the soldiers up as if they had been children and threw 
them overboard, alive or dead. There was one sergeant that was 
horribly wounded, and yet kept on swimming for a surprising time, 
until someone in mercy blew out his brains. When the fighting was 
over there was no one left of our enemies except just the warders the 
mates, and the doctor. 

"It was over them that the great quarrel arose. There were 
many of us who were glad enough to win back our freedom, and 
yet who had no wish to have murder on our souls. It was one thing 
to knock the soldiers over with their muskets in their hands, and it 
was another to stand by while men were being killed in cold blood. 
Eight of us, five convicts and three sailors, said that we would not 
see it done. But there was no moving Prendergast and those 
who were with him. Our only chance of safety lay in making a 
clean job of it, said he, and he would not leave a tongue with power 
to wag in a witness-box. It nearly came to our sharing the fate of 
the prisoners, but at last he said that if we wished we might take a 
boat and go. We jumped at the offer, for we were already sick of 
these bloodthirsty doings, and we saw that there would be worse 
before it was done. We were given a suit of sailors' togs each, a 
barrel of water, two casks, one of junk and one of biscuits, and a 
compass. Prendergast threw us over a chart, told us that we were 
shipwrecked mariners whose ship had foundered in lat. 15*-^ N. and 
long. 25° W^, and then cut the painter and let us go. 

"And now I come to the most surprising part of my stoiy, my 
near son. The seamen had hauled the forevard aback during the 
rising, but now as we left them they brought it square again, and, as 
there was a light wind from the north and east, the barque began to 
draw slowly away from us. Our boat lay rising and falling upon the 
long, smooth rollers, and Evans and I, who w^ere the most educated of 
the party, were sitting in the sheets working out our position and 
planning what coast we should make for. It was a nice question, for 
the Cape de Verds were about 500 miles to the north of us, and the 
African coast about 700 miles to the east. On the whole, as the wind 
was coming round to the north, we thought that Sierra Leone might be 
best, and turned our head in that direction, the barque being at that time 



nearly hull down on our starboard quarter. Suddenly, as we looked at 
her, we saw a dense black cloud of smoke shoot up from her, which hung 
like a monstrous tree upon the sky-line. A few seconds later a roar like 
thunder burst upon our ears, and as the smoke thinned away there 
was no sign left of the Gloria Scott. In an instant we swept the 
boat's head round again, and pulled with all our strength for the place 
where the haze, still trailing over the water, marked the scene of this 

" It was a long hour before we reached it, and at first we feared 
that we had come too late to save anyone. A splintered boat and a 
number of crates and fragments of spars rising and falling on the 
waves showed us where the vessel had foundered, but there was no 
sign of life, and we had turned away in despair when we heard a cry 
for help, and saw at some distance a piece of wreckage with a man 
lying stretched across it. When we pulled him aboard the boat he 
proved to be a young seaman of the name of Hudson, who was so 
burned and exhausted that he could give us no account of what had 
happened until the following morning. 



"It seemed that, after we had left, Prendergast and his gang had 
proceeded to put to death the remaining five prisoners : the two warders 
had been shot and thrown overboard, and so also had the third mate. 
Prendergast then descended into the 'tween decks, and v^ith his own 
hands cut the throat of the unfortunate surgeon. There only 
remained the first mate, who was a bold and active man. When he 
saw the convict approaching him \\ith the bloody knife in his hand, 
he kicked off his bonds, which he had somehow contrived to loosen, 
and rushing down the deck he plunged into the after-hold. 

" A dozen convicts who descended with thoir pistols in search of 
him found him with a match-box in his hand seated beside an open 
powder barrel, which was one of a hundred carried on board, and swear- 
ing that he would blow all hands up if he were in any way molested. 
An instant later the explosion occurred, though Hudson thought it was 
caused by the misdirected bullet of one of the convicts rather than 
the mate's match. Be the cause what it ma}-, it was the end of the 
Gloria Scott, and of the rabble who held command of her. 

" Such, in a few words, my dear bo}', is the history of this terrible 
business in which I was involved. Next day we were picked up by 
the hxig Hotspur, bound for Australia, whose captain found no difficulty 
in believing that we were the survivors of a passenger ship which had 
foundered. The transport ship, Gloria Scott, was set down by the 
Admiralty as being lost at sea, and no word has ever leaked out as 
to her true fate. After an excellent voyage the Hotspur landed us 
at Sydney, where Evans and I changed our names and made 
our way to the diggings, where, among the crowds who were 
gathered from all nations, we had no difficulty in losing our former 

"The rest I need not relate. We prospered, we travelled, we 
came back as rich Colonials to England, and we bought country 
estates. For more than twenty years we have led peaceful and useful 
lives, and we hoped that our past was for ever buried. Imagine, then, 
my feelings when in the seaman who came to us I recognised instantly 
the man who had been picked off the wreck ! He had tracked us 
down somehow, and had set himself to live upon our fears. You will 
understand now how it was that I strove to keep peace with him, and 
you will in some measure s>'mpathize with me in the fears which fill 



me, now that he has gone from me to his other victim with threats 
upon his tongue. 

" Underneath is written, in a hand so shaky as to be hardly- 
legible, ' Beddoes writes in cipher to say that H. has told all. Sweet 
Lord, have mercy on our souls ! ' 

" That was the narrative which I read that night to )-oung 
Trevor, and I think, Watson, that under the circumstances it was a 
dramatic one. The good fellow v/as heartbroken at it, and went out 
to the Terai tea planting, where I hear that he is doing well. As to 
the sailor and Beddoes, neither of them was ever heard of again after 
that day on which the letter of \\arning was written. They both 
disappeared utterly and completeI}\ No complaint had been lodged 
with the police, so that Beddoes had mistaken a threat for a deed. 
Hudson had been seen lurking about, and it was believed by the 
police that he had done away with Beddoes, and had fled. For 
myself, I believe that the truth was exactly the opposite. I think 
it is most probable that Beddoes, pushed to desperation, and believ- 
ing himself to have been alread}' betrayed, had revenged himself 
upon Hudson, and had fled from the country with as much money as 
he could lay his hands on. Those are the facts of the case. Doctor, 
and if they are of any use to your collection^ I am sure that they are 
very heartily at your service." 


N anomaly which often struck me in the character of my 
friend Sherlock Holmes was that, although in his 
methods of thought he was the neatest and most 
methodical of mankind, and although also he affected 
a certain quiet primness of dress, he was none the less 
in his personal habits one of the most untidy men that ever drove a 
fellow-lodger to distraction. Not that I am in the least conventional 
in that respect myself The rough-and-tumble work in Afghanistan, 
coming on the top of a natural Bohemianism of disposition, has made 
me rather more lax than befits a medical man. But with me there is 
a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal- 
scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his 
unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very 
centre of his wooden mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself 
virtuous airs. I have always held, too, that pistol practice should 
distinctly be an open-air pastime ; and when Holmes in one of his 
queer humours would sit in an arm-chair, with his hair-trigger and a 
hundred Boxer cartridges, and proceed to adorn the opposite wall 
with a patriotic V. R. done in bullet-pocks, I felt strongly that 
neither the atmosphere nor the appearance of our room was improved 
by it. 

Our chambers were always full of chemicals and of criminal 
relics, which had a way of wandering into unlikely positions, and of 
turning up in the butter-dish, or in even less desirable places. But 
. his papers were my great crux. He had a horror of destroying docu- 
ments, especially those which were connected with his past cases, and 
yet it was only once in every year or two that he would muster 
energy to docket and arrange them, for, as I have mentioned some- 


where in these incoherent memoirs, the outbursts of passionate energy 
when he performed the remarkable feats with which his name is 
associated were followed by reactions of lethargy, during which he 
would lie about with his violin and his books, hardly moving, 
save from the sofa to the table. Thus month after month his papers 
accumulated, until every corner of the room was stacked with bundles 
of manuscript which were on no account to be burned, and which 
could not be put away save by their owner. 

One winter's night, as we sat together by the fire, I ventured to 
suggest to him that as he had finished pasting extracts into his 
commonplace book, he might employ the next two hours in making 
our room a little more habitable. He could not den}' the justice of 
my request, so with a rather rueful face he went off to his bedroom, 
from which he returned presently pulling a large tin box behind him. 
This he placed in the middle of the floor, and squatting down upon 
a stool in front of it he threw back the lid. I could see that it was 
already a third full of bundles of paper tied up with red tape into 
separate packages. 

" There are cases enough here, Watson," said he, looking at me 
with mischievous eyes. " I think that if you knew all that I have in 
this box you would ask me to pull some out instead of putting 
others in." 

" These are the records of your early work, then ? " I asked. " I 
have often wished that I had notes of those cases." 

" Yes, my boy ; these were all done prematurely, before my 
biographer had come to glorify me." He lifted bundle after bundle . 
in a tender, caressing sort of wa\-. " They are not all successes, 
Watson," said he, " but there are some pretty little problems among 
them. Here's the record of the Tarleton murders, and the case of 
Vamberry the wine merchant, and the adventure of the old 
Russian woman, and the singular affair of the aluminium crutch, 
as well as a full account of Ricoletti of the club foot and his 
abominable wife. And here — ah, now ! this reall}' is something a 
little recherche" 

He dived his arm down to the bottom of the chest, and brought 
up a small wooden box, with a sliding lid, such as children's toys are 
kept in. From within he produced a crumpled piece of paper, an 



old-fashioned brass key, a peg of wood with a ball of string attached 
to it, and three rusty old discs of metal. 

" Well, my boy, what do you make of this lot? " he asked, smiling 
at my expression. 

" It is a curious collection." 
" Very curious ; and the 
story that hangs round it will 
strike you as being more curious 

" These relics 
have a history, 
then ? " 


" So much so that they are history." 

" What do you mean by that ? " 

Sherlock Holmes picked them up one by one, and laid them 
along the edge of the table. Then he re-seated himself in his chair, 
and looked them over with a gleam of satisfaction in his eyes. 

" These," said he, " are all that I have left to remind me of the 
episode of the Musgrave Ritual." 

I had heard him mention the case more than once, though I had 
never been able to gather the details. 


" I should be so glad," said I, "if you would give me an account 
of it." 

" And leave the litter as it is ? " he cried, mischievously. " Your 
tidiness won't bear much strain, after all, Watson. But I should be glad 
that you should add this case to your annals, for there are points in 
it which make it quite unique in the criminal records of this or, I 
believe, of any other country. A collection of my trifling achieve- 
ments would certainly be incomplete which contained no account of 
this very singular business. 

" You may remember how the affair of the Gloria Scott, and my 
conversation with the unhappy man whose fate I told you of, first 
turned my attention in the direction of the profession which has 
become my life's work. You see me now when my name has become 
known far and wide, and when I am generally recognised both by 
the public and by the official force as being a final court of appeal in 
doubtful cases. Even when }'ou knew me first, at the time of the affair 
which you have commemorated in ' A Study in Scarlet,' I had already 
established a considerable, though not a very lucrative, connection. 
You can hardly realize, then, how difficult I found it at first, and how 
long I had to wait before I succeeded in making any headway. 

" When I first came up to London I had rooms in Montague 
Street, just round the corner from the British Museum, and there I 
waited, filling in my too abundant leisure time by studying all those 
branches of science which might make me more efficient. Now and 
again cases came in my way principally through the introduction of 
old fellow students, for during my last }'ears at the University there 
was a good deal of talk there about m>'self and my methods. The 
third of these cases was that of the Musgrave Ritual, and it is to the 
interest which was aroused by that singular chain of events, and the 
large issues which proved to be at stake, that I trace my first stride 
towards the position which I now hold. 

" Reginald Musgrave had been in the same college as myself, and 
! had some slight acquaintance with him. He was not generally 
popular among the undergraduates, though it always seemed to me 
that what was set down as pride was really an attempt to cover ex- 
treme natural diffidence. In appearance he was a man of an exceed- 
ingly aristocratic t}-pc, thin, high-nosed, and large-eyed, with languid 


and yet courtly manners. He was indeed a scion of one of the very 
oldest families in the kingdom, though his branch was a cadet one 
which had separated from the Northern Musgraves some time in the 
sixteenth century, and had established itself in Western Sussex, where 
the manor house of Hurlstone is perhaps the oldest inhabited building 
in the county. Something of his birthplace seemed to cling to the 
man, and I never looked at his pale, keen face, or the poise of his 
head without associating him with gre}' archwa}s and mullioned 
windows and all the venerable wreckage of a feudal keep. Now and again 
we drifted into talk, and I can remember that more than once he ex- 
pressed a keen interest in m}- methods of observation and inference. 

' For four }-cars I had seen nothing of him, until one morning he 
walked into my room in Montague Street. He had changed little, 
was dressed like a young man of fashion — he was always a bit of a 
dandy — and preserved the same quiet, suave manner which had 
formerly distinguished him. 

" ' How has all gone with you, Musgrave ? ' I asked, after we had 
cordially shaken hands. 

" ' You probably heard of my poor father's death,' said he. ' Pie 
was carried off about two }'ears ago. Since then I have, of course, 
had the Hurlstone estates to manage, and as I am member for my 
district as well, m\' life has been a busy one ; but 1 understand. 
Holmes, that you arc turning to practical ends those powers with which 
you used to amaze us.' 

" 'Yes,' said I, ' I have taken to living by my wits.' 

" ' I am delighted to hear it, for your advice at present would be 
exceedingly valuable to me. We have had some very strange doings 
at Hurlstone, and the police have been able to throw no light upon the 
matter. It is really the most extraordinary and inexplicable business.' 

"You can imagine with what eagerness I listened to him, Watson, 
for the very chance for which I had been panting during all those 
months of inaction seemed to have come within my reach. In my 
inmost heart I believed that I could succeed where others failed, and 
now I had the opportunity to test myself 

" ' Pray let mc have the details,' I cried. 

" Reginald Musgrave sat down opposite to me, and lit the cigarette 
which I had pushed towards him. 




" ' You must know,' said he, ' that though I am a bachelor I have 
to keep up a considerable staff of servants at Hurlstone, for 
it is a rambling old place, and takes a good deal of looking after. I 
preserve, too, and in the pheasant months I usually have a house 
party, so that it would not do to be short-handed. Altogether there 
arc eight maids, the cook, the butler, two footmen, and a boy. The 
garden and the stables, of course, have a separate staff. 

" ' Of these servants the one who had been longest in our service 
was Brunton, the butler. He was a }'oung schoolmaster out of place 
when he was first taken up by my father, but he was a man of great 
energy and character, and he soon became quite invaluable in the 
household. He was a well-grown, handsome man, with a splendid 
forehead, and though he has been with us for twenty years he cannot 
be more than forty now. W'ith his personal advantages and his 
extraordinary gifts, for he can speak several languages and play 
nearly every musical instrument, it is wonderful that he should have 


been satisfied so long in such a position, but I suppose that he was 
comfortable and lacked energy to make any change. The butler 
of Hurlstone is always a thing that is remembered b)- all who 
visit us. 

'" But this paragon has one fault. He is a bit of a Don Juan, 
and you can imagine that for a man like him it is not a very difficult 
part to play in a quiet country district. 

" ' When he was married it was all right, but since he has been a 
widower we have had no end of trouble with him. A few months asfo 
we were in hopes that he was about to settle down again, for he 
became engaged to Rachel Howells, our second housemaid, but he 
has thrown her over since then and taken up with Janet Tregellis, 
the daughter of the head gamekeeper. Rachel, who is a very good 
girl, but of an excitable Welsh temperament, had a sharp touch 
of brain fever, and goes about the house now — or did until yesterday — 
like a black-eyed shadow of her former self. That was our first 
drama at Hurlstone, but a second one came to drive it from our 
minds, and it was prefaced by the disgrace and dismissal of Butler 

" ' This is how it came about. I have said that the man was 
intelligent, and this very intelligence has caused his ruin, for it seems 
to have led to an insatiable curiosity about things which did not in 
the least concern him. I had no idea of the lengths to which this 
would carry him until the merest accident opened my eyes to it. 

" ' I have said that the house is a rambling one. One night last 
week — on Thursday night, to be more exact — I found that I could 
not sleep, having foolishly taken a cup of strong cafe noir after my 
dinner. After struggling against it until two in the morning I felt that 
it was quite hopeless, so I rose and lit the candle with the intention of 
continuing a novel which I was reading. The book, however, had 
been left in the billiard-room, so I pulled on my dressing-gown and 
started off to get it. 

" ' In order to reach the billiard-room I had to descend a flight of 
stairs, and then to cross the head of a passage which led to the 
library and the gun-room. You can imagine my surprise when as I 
looked down this corridor I saw a glimmer of light coming from 
the open door of the library. I had myself extinguished the lamp 



and closed the door before coming to bed. Naturally, my first thought 
was of burglars. The corridors at Hurlstone have their walls largely 
decorated with trophies of old weapons. P'rom one of these I picked 
a battle-axe, and then, lea\ing my candle behind me, I crept on tip- 
toe down the passage and peeped in at the open door. 

" ' Brunton, the butler, was in the library. He was sitting, fully 
dressed, in an eas}- chair, with a slip of paper, which looked like a map, 
upon his knee, and his forehead sunk forward upon his hand in deep 
thought. I stood, dumb with astonishment, watching him from the 
darkness. A small taper on the edge of the table shed a feeble light, 
which sufificed to show me that he was fully dressed. Suddenly, as I 

looked, he rose from 
his chair, and walk- 
ing over to a bureau 
at the side, he un- 
locked it and drew 
out one of the 
drawers. From this 
he took a paper, and, 
returning to his seat, 
he flattened it out 
beside the taper on 
the edge of the 
tabic, and began to 
study it with minute 
attention. My indig- 
nation at this calm 
examination of our 
famil)- documents 
overcame me so far 
that I took a step 
forward, and Brun- 
ton looking up saw 
mc standing in the 
doorwa)-. He sprang 
to his Icct, his face 
turned livid with 

ill ''PT 




fear, and he thrust into his breast the chart-Hke paper which he had 
been originall}' studying. 

'" So ! ' said I, 'this is how you repay the trust which we have 
reposed in you ! You will leave my service to-morrow.' 

'"He bowed with the look of a man who is utterly crushed, and 
slunk past me without a word. The taper was still on the table, and 
by its light I glanced to see what the paper was which Brunton had 
taken from the bureau. To m}' surprise it was nothing of any 
importance at all, but simply a cop)' of the questions and answers in 
the singular old observance called the Musgravc Ritual. It is a sort of 
ceremony peculiar to our family, which each Musgrave for centuries 
past has gone through upon his coming of age — a thing of private 
interest, and perhaps of some little importance to the archaeologist, like 
our own blazonings and charges, but of no practical use whatever.' 

" ' We had better come back to the paper afterwards,' said I. 

'"If you think it rcall)' necessar}',' he answered, with some 
hesitation. ' To continue my statement, however, I re-locked the 
bureau, using the k'e\- which Brunton had left, and I had turned to go, 
when I was surprised to find that the butler had returned and was 
standing before me. 

" ' Mr. Musgrave, sir,' he cried, in a voice which was hoarse with 
emotion, ' I can't bear disgrace, sir. I've always been proud above 
my station in life, and disgrace would kill me. M}^ blood will be on 
your head, sir — it will, indeed — if you drive me to despair. If you 
cannot keep me after what has passed, then for God's sake let me give 
you notice and leave in a month, as if of m\' own free will. I could 
stand that, Mr. Musgrave, but not to be cast out before all the folk 
that I know so well.' 

" ' You don't deserve much consideration, Brunton,' I answered, 
'Your conduct has been most infamous. However, as you have been 
a long time in the family, I have no wish to bring public disgrace 
upon you. A month, however, is too long. Take }-ourself away in a 
week, and give what reason }'ou like for going.' 

" ' Only a week, sir ? ' he cried in a despairing voice. ' A fortnight 
— say at least a fortnight.' 

'"A week,' I repeated, 'and you may consider yourself to have 
been very lenientl}' dealt with.' 


" ' He crept away, his face sunk upon his breast, Hke a broken 
man, while I put out the hght and returned to my room. 

" ' For two days after this Brunton was most assiduous in his 
attention to his duties. I made no alhision to what had passed, and 
waited with some curiosity to see how he would cover his disgrace. 
On the third morning, however, he did not appear, as was his custom, 
after breakfast to receive my instructions for the day. As I left the 
dining-room I happened to meet Rachel Howells, the maid. I have 
told you that she had only recently recovered from an illness, and was 
looking so wretchedly pale and wan tliat I remonstrated with her for 
being at work. 

" ' You should be in bed,' I said. ' Come back to your duties 
when you are stronger.' 

" ' She looked at me with so strange an expression that I began 
to suspect that her brain was affected. 

" ' I am strong enough, Mr. Musgrave,' said she. 

" ' We will see what the doctor says,' I answered. ' You must stop 
work now, and when you go downstairs just say that I wish to see 

" ' The butler is gone,' said she. 

" ' Gone ! Gone where ? ' 

" ' He is gone. No one has seen him. He is not in his room. 
Oh, yes, he is gone — he is gone ! ' She fell back against the wall 
with shriek after shriek of laughter, while I, horrified at this sudden 
hysterical attack, rushed to the bell to summon help. The girl was 
taken to her room, still screaming and sobbing, while I made inquiries 
about Brunton. There was no doubt about it that he had disappeared. 
His bed had not been slept in ; he had been seen by no one since he 
had retired to his room the night before ; and yet it was difficult to 
see how he could have left the house, as both windows and doors 
were found to be fastened in the morning. His clothes, his watch, 
and even his money were in his room — but the black suit which he 
usually wore was missing. His slippers, too, were gone, but his boots 
were left behind. Where, then, could Butler Brunton have gone in 
the night, and what could have become of him now ? — 

" ' Of course we searched the house and the outhouses, but there 
was no trace of him. It is, as I have said, a labyrinth of an old 


building, especially the original wing, which is now practically un- 
inhabited, but we ransacked every room and attic without discovering 
the least sign of the missing man. It was incredible to me that he 
could have gone away leaving all his property behind him, and yet 
where could he be ? I called in the local police, but without success. 
Rain had fallen on the night before, and we examined the lawn and 
the paths all round the house, but in \ain. Matters were in this state 
when a new development quite drew our attention away from the 
original mystery. 

" ' For two days Rachel Howells had been so ill, sometimes 
delirious, sometimes hysterical, that a nurse had been employed to sit 
up with her at night. On the third' night after Brunton's disappearance 
the nurse, finding her patient sleeping nicely, had dropped into a nap 
in the arm-chair, when she woke in the early morning to find the bed 
empty, the window open, and no signs of the invalid. I was instantly 
aroused, and with the two footmen started off at once in search of the 
missing girl. It was not difficult to tell the direction which she had 
taken, for, starting from under her window, we could follow her foot- 
marks easily across the lawn to the edge of the mere, where they 
vanished, close to the gravel path which leads out of the grounds. 
The lake there is 8ft. deep, and you can imagine our feelings when we 
saw that the trail of the poor demented girl came to an end at the edge 
of it. Of course, we had the drags at once, and set to work to recover 
the remains ; but no trace of the body could we find. On the other 
hand, we brought to the surfiice an object of a most unexpected kind. 
It was a linen bag, which contained within it a mass of old rusted and 
discoloured metal and several dull-coloured pieces of pebble or glass. 
This strange find was all that we could get from the mere, and although 
we made every possible search and inquiry yesterday, we know nothing 
of the fate either of Rachel Howells or Richard Brunton. The county 
police are at their wits' end, and I have come up to you as a last 

"You can imagine, Watson, with what eagerness I listened to this ex- 
traordinary sequence of events, and endeavoured to piece them together, 
and to devise some common thread upon which they might all hang. 

" The butler was gone. The maid was gone. The maid had 
loved the butler, but had afterwards had cause to hate him. She was 


of Welsh blood, fiery and passionate. She had been terribly excited 
immediately after his disappearance. She had flung into the lake a 
bag containing some curious contents. These were all factors which 
had to be taken into consideration, and yet none of them got quite to 
the heart of the matter. What was the starting point of this chain of 
events ? There lay the end of this tangled line. 

" ' I must see that paper, Musgrave,' said I, ' which this butler of 
yours thought it worth his while to- consult, even at the risk of the 
loss of his place.' 

" ' It is rather an absurd business, this Ritual of ours,' he answered, 
' but it has at least the saving grace of antiquity to excuse it. I have 
a copy of the questions and answers here, if you care to run your eye 
over them.' 

" He handed me the very paper which I have here, Watson, and 
this is the strange catechism to which each Musgrave had to submit 
when he came to man's estate. I will read you the questions and 
answers as they stand : — 

" ' Whose was it ? 

" ' His who is gone. 

" ' Who shall have it ? 

" ' He who will come. 

" ' What was the month ? 

" ' The sixth from the first. 

" ' Where was the sun ? 

" ' Over the oak. 

" ' Where was the shadow ? 

'" Under the elm. 

" ' How was it stepped ? 

" ' North by ten and by ten, east by five and by five, south by two 
and by two, west by one and by one, and so under. 

" ' What shall we give for it ? 

" ' All that is ours. 

" ' Why should we give it ? 

" ' For the sake of the trust.' 

'" The original has no date, but is in the spelling of the middle 
of the seventeenth century,' remarked Musgrave. ' I am afraid, how- 
ever, that it can be of little help to you in solving this mystery.' 


" ' At least,' said I, ' it gives us another mystery, and one which 
is even more interesting than the first. It may be that the solution 
of the one may prove to be the solution of the other. You will excuse 
me, Musgrave, if I say that your butler appears to me to have been a 
very clever man, and to have had a clearer insight than ten generations 
of his masters.' 

" ' I hardly follow you,' said Musgrave. ' The paper seems to me 
to be of no practical importance.' 

" ' But to me it seems immensely practical, and T fancy that 
Brunton took the same view. He had probably seen it before that 
night on which you caught him.' 

'"It is very possible. We took no pains to hide it.' 

" ' He simply wished, I should imagine, to refresh his memory 
upon that last occasion. He had, as I understand, some sort of map 
or chart which he was comparing with the manuscript, and which he 
thrust into his pocket when )'ou appeared ? ' 

" ' That is true. But what could he have to do with this old 
family custom of ours, and Vv'hat does this rigmarole mean ? ' 

" ' I don't think that we should have much difficult}- in determin- 
ing that,' said I, ' With your permission we will take the first train 
down to Sussex and go a little more deeply into the matter upon the 

" The same afternoon saw us both at Hurlstone. Possibly you 
have seen pictures and read descriptions of the famous old building, 
so I will confine my account -of it to saying that it is built in the 
shape of an L, the long arm being the more modern portion, and the 
shorter the ancient nucleus from which the other has developed. 
Over the low, heavy-lintelled door, in the centre of this old part, is 
chiselled the date 1607, but experts are agreed that the beams and 
stonework are really much older than this. The enormously thick 
walls and tiny windows of this part had in the last century driven the 
family into building the new wing, and the old one was used now as a 
storehouse and a cellar when it was used at all. A splendid park, with 
fine old timber, surrounded the house, and the lake, to which my client 
had referred, lay close to the avenue, about two hundred yards from 
the building. 

" I was already firmly convinced, Watson, that there were not 


three separate mysteries here, but one onl)-, and that if I could read 
the Musgrave Ritual aright, I should hold in my hand the clue which 
would lead me to the truth concerning both the butler Brunton 
and the maid Howells. To that, then, I turned all my energies 
Why should this servant be so anxious to master this old 
formula ? Evidently because he saw something in it which had 
escaped all those generations of country squires, and from which he 
expected some personal advantage. What was it, then, and how had 
it affected his fate ? 

" It was perfectly obvious to me on reading the Ritual that the 
measurements must refer to some spot to which the rest of the docu- 
ment alluded, and that if we could find that spot we should be in a fair 
way towards knowing what the secret was which the old Musgraves 
had thought it necessary to embalm in so curious a fashion. There 
were two guides given us to start with, an oak and an elm. As to the 
oak, there could be no question at all. Right in front of the house, 
upon the left-hand side of the drive, there stood a patriarch among 
oaks, one of the most magnificent trees that I have ever seen. 

" ' That was there when your Ritual was drawn up ? ' said I, as 
we drove past it. 

" ' It was there at the Norman Conquest, in all probability,' he 
answered. ' It has a girth of 23ft.' 

" Here was one of my fixed points secured. 

" ' Have you any old elms ? ' I asked. 

" ' There used to be a very old one over yonder, but it was struck 
by lightning ten years ago, and we cut down the stump.' 

" ' You can see where it used to be ? 

" ' Oh, yes.' 

" ' There are no other elms ? ' 

" ' No old ones, but plenty of beeches. 

" ' I should like to see where it grew.' 

" We had driven up in a dog-cart, and my client led me away at 
once, without our entering the house, to the 'scar on the lawn where 
the elm had stood. It was nearly midway between the oak and the 
house. My investigation seemed to be progressing. 

" ' I suppose it is impossible to find out how high the elm was ? ' 
I asked. 




" ' I can give you it at once. It was 64ft.' 

" ' How do you come to know it ? ' I asked, in surprise. 

" ' When my old tutor used to give me an exercise in trigono- 
metry it always took the shape of measuring heights. When I was a 
lad I worked out every tree and building on the estate.' 

" This was an unexpected piece of luck. My data were coming 
more quickly than I could have reasonably hoped. 

" ' Tell me,' I asked, ' did your butler ever ask you such a 
question ? ' 

" Reginald Musgrave looked at me in astonishment. ' Now that 
you call it to my mind,' he answered, ' Brunton did ask me 
about the height of the tree some months ago, in connection with 
some little argument with the groom.' 

" This was excellent news, Watson, for it showed me that I was 



on the right road. I looked up at the sun. It was low in the heavens, 
and I calculated that in less than an hour it would lie just above the 
topmost branches of the old oak. One condition mentioned in the 
Ritual would then be fulfilled. iKx\A the shadow of the elm must 
mean the further end of the shadow, otherwise the trunk would have 
been chosen as the guide. I had then to find where the far end of 
the shadow would fall when the sun was just clear of the oak." 

" That must have been difficult, Holmes, when the elm was no 
longer there." 

" Well, at least, I knew that if Brunton could do it I could also. 
Besides, there was no real difficulty. I went with Musgrave to his 
study and whittled myself this peg, to which I tied this long string, 
with a knot at each yard. Then I took two lengths of a fishing-rod, 
which came to just six feet, and I went back with my client to where 
the elm had been. The sun was just grazing the top of the oak. I 
fastened the rod on end, marked out the direction of the shadow, and 
measured it. It was 9ft. in length. 

" Of course, the calculation now was a simple one. If a rod of 
6ft. threw a shadow of 9ft., a tree of 64ft. would throw one of 96ft., 
and the line of one would of course be the line of the other. I 
measured out the distance, which brought me almost to the wall of 
the house, and I thrust a peg into the spot. You can imagine my 
exultation, Watson, when within 2in. of my peg I saw a conical 
depression in the ground. I knew that it was the mark made by 
Brunton in his measurements, and that I was still upon his trail. 

" From this starting point I proceeded to step, having first taken 
the cardinal points by my pocket compass. Ten steps with each foot 
took me along parallel with the wall of the house, and again I marked 
my spot with a peg. Then I carefully paced off five to the east and 
two to the south. It brought me to the very threshold of the old 
door. Two steps to the west meant now that I was to go two paces 
down the stone-flagged passage, and this was the place indicated by 
the Ritual. 

" Never have I felt such a cold chill of disappointment, Watson. 
For a moment it seemed to me that there must be some radical 
mistake in my calculations. The setting sun. shone full upon 
the passage floor, and I could see that the old, foot-worn grey stones. 



with which it was 

paved, were firmly 

cemented together, 

and had certainly 

not been moved for 

many a long year. 

Brunton had not 

been at work here. 

I tapped upon the 

floor, but it sounded 

the same all over, 

and there was no 

sign of any crack or 

crevice. But for- 
tunately, Musgrave, 

who had begun to 

appreciate the 

meaning of my 

proceedings, and 

who was now as 

excited as myself, 

took out his manu- 
script to check my 


" ' And under,' he cried, ' you have omitted the " and under." ' 

" I had thought that it meant that we were to dig, but now of 

course I saw at once that I was wrong. ' There is a cellar under this, 

then ? ' I cried. 

" ' Yes, and as old as the house. Down here, through this door.' 
" We went down a winding stone stair, and my companion, 

striking a match, lit a large lantern which stood on a barrel in the 

corner. In an instant it was obvious that we had at last come upon 

the true place, and that we had not been the only people to visit the 

spot recently. 

" It had been used for the storage of wood, but the billets, which 

had evidently been littered over the floor, were now piled at the sides 

so as to leave a clear space in the middle. In this space lay a large 

"this W.\S the I'LACE INDICATED." 



and heavy flagstone, with a rusted iron ring in the centre, to which a 
thick shepherd's check muffler was attached. 

'' ' By Jove ! ' cried my cHent, ' that's Brunton's muffler. I have 
seen it on him and could swear to it. What has the villain been 
doing here ? ' 

" At my suggestion a couple of the county police were summoned 
to be present, and I then endeavoured to raise the stone by pulling on 
the cravat. I could only mo\e it slightly, and it was with the aid of 
one of the constables that I succeeded at last in carrying it to one 
side. A black hole }'a\vned beneath, into which we all peered, while 
Musgrave, kneeling at the side, pushed down the lantern. 

" A small chamber 
about 7ft. deep and 4ft. 
square lay open to us. 
At one side of this was 
a squat, brass-bound, 
wooden box, the lid of 
which ^vas hinged up- 
wards, with this curious, 
old-fashioned key pro- 
jecting from the lock. 
It was furred outside by 
a thick layer of dust, 
and damp and worms 
had eaten through the 
wood so that a crop of 
livid fungi was growing 
on the inside of it. 
Several discs of metal — 
old coins apparentl}- — 
such as I hold here, were 
scattered over the 
bottom of the box, but 
it contained nothing 

" At that moment, 
howc\-er, wc had no 





thought for the old chest, for our eyes were riveted upon that which 
crouched beside it. It was the figure of a man, clad in a suit of 
black, who squatted down upon his hams with his forehead sunk 
upon the edge of the box and his two arms thrown out on each side 
of it. The attitude had drawn all the stagnant blood to his face, and 
no man could have recognised that distorted, liver-coloured coun- 
tenance ; but his height, his dress, and his hair were all sufficient to 
show my client, when we had drawn the body up, that it was, indeed, 
his missing butler. He had been dead some days, but there was no 
wound or bruise upon his person to show how he had met his dreadfu-1 
end. When his body had been carried from the cellar we found 
ourselves still confronted with a problem which was almost as 
formidable as that with which we had started. 

" I confess that so far, Watson, I had been disappointed in my 
investigation. I had reckoned upon solving the matter when once I 
had found the place referred to in the Ritual ; but now I was there, 
and was apparently as far as ever from knowing what it was which 
the family had concealed with such elaborate precautions. It is true 
that I had thrown a light upon the fate of Brunton, but now I had to 
ascertain how that fate had come upon him. and what part had been 
played in the matter b}- the woman who had disappeared. I sat down 
upon a keg in the corner and thought the whole matter carefully over. 

" You know my methods in such cases, Watson : I put myself in 
the man's place, and having first gauged his intelligence, I try to 
irnagine how I should myself have proceeded under the same circum- 
stances. In this case the matter was simplified by Brunton's intelli- 
gence being quite first rate, so that it was unnecessary to make any 
allowance for the personal equation, as the astronomers have dubbed 
it. He knew that something valuable was concealed. He had spotted 
the place. He found that the stone which covered it was just too 
heavy for a man to move unaided. What would he do next ? He 
could not get help from outside, even if he had someone whom he could 
trust, without the unbarring of doors, and considerable risk of detec- 
tion. It was better, if he could, to have his helpmate inside the house. 
But whom could he ask ? This girl had been devoted to him. A 
man always finds it hard to realize that he may have finally lost a 
woman's love, howe\-er badly he may have treated her. He would 


try by a few attentions to make his peace with the girl Howells, and 
then would engage her as his accomplice. Together they would come 
at night to the cellar, and their united force would suffice to raise the 
stone. So far I could follow their actions as if I had actually seen 

" But for two of them, and one a woman, it must have been heavy 
work, the raising of that stone. A burly Sussex policeman and I had 
found it no light job. What would they do to assist them ? Probably 
what I should have done myself I rose and examined carefully the 
different billets of wood which were scattered round the floor. Almost 
at once I came upon what I expected. One piece, about 3ft. in length, 
had a marked indentation at one end, while several were flattened at 
the sides as if they had been compressed by some considerable weight. 
Evidently as they had dragged the stone up they had thrust the 
chunks of wood into the chink, until at last, when the opening was 
large enough to crawl through, they would hold it open by a billet 
placed lengthwise, which might very well become indented at the 
lower end, since the whole weight of the stone would press it down 
on to the edge of the other slab. So far I was still on safe ground. 

" And now, how was I to proceed to reconstruct this midnight 
drama ? Clearly only one could get into the hole, and that one was 
Brunton. The girl must have waited above. Brunton then unlocked 
the box, handed up the contents, presumably — since they were not to 
be found — and then — and then what happened ? 

" What smouldering fire of vengeance had suddenly sprung into 
flame in this passionate Celtic woman's soul when she saw the man 
who had wronged her — wronged her, perhaps, far more than we 
suspected — in her power ? Was it a chance that the wood had slipped 
and that the stone had shut Brunton into what had become his 
sepulchre ? Had she onl)- been guilty of silence as to his fate ? Or 
had some sudden blow from her hand dashed the support away and 
sent the slab crashing down into its place. Be that as it might, I 
seemed to see that woman's figure, still clutching at her treasure-trove, 
and flying wildly up the winding stair with her ears ringing perhaps 
with the muffled screams from behind her, and with the drumming of 
frenzied hands against the slab of stone which was choking her 
faithless lover's life out. 


" Here was the secret of her blanched face, her shaken nerves, her 
peals of hysterical laughter on the next morning. But what had been 
in the box ? What had she done with that ? Of course, it must have 
been the old metal and pebbles which my client had dragged from 
the mere. She had thrown them in there at the first opportunity, to 
remove the last trace of her crime. 

" For twenty minutes I had sat motionless thinking the matter 
out. Musgravc still stood with a very pale face, swinging his lantern 
and peering clown into the hole. 

" ' These arc coins of Charles I.,' said he, holding out the few 
which had been left in the box. ' You see we were right in fixing 
our date for the Ritual.' 

" ' We may find something else of Charles I.,' I cried, as the 
probable meaning of the first two questions of the Ritual broke sud- 
denly upon me. ' Let me see the contents of the bag you fished from 
the mere.' 

" We ascended to his study, and he laid the debris before me. I 
could vmderstand his regarding it as of small importance when I 
looked at it, for the metal was almost black, and the stones lustreless 
and dull. I rubbed one of them on my sleeve, however, and it glowed 
afterwards like a spark, in the dark hollow of my hand. .The metal- 
work w^as in the form of a double ring, but it had been bent and 
twisted out of its original shape. 

"' You must bear in mind,' said I, ' that the Royal party made 
head in England even after the death of the King, and that when 
they at last fled they probably left many of their most precious 
possessions buried behind them, with the intention of returning for 
them in more peaceful times.' 

" ' My ancestor, Sir Ralph Musgrave, v^'as a prominent Cavalier, 
and the right-hand man of Charles II. in his wanderings,' said my 

" ' Ah, indeed,' I answered. ' Well, now, I think that really should 
give us the last link that we wanted. I must congratulate you on 
coming into possession, though in rather a tragic manner, of a relic 
which is of great intrinsic value, but even of greater importance as an 
historical curiosity.' 

" ' What is it, then ? ' he gasped, in astonishment. 


" ' It is nothing less than the ancient crown of the Kings of 

" ' The crown ! ' 

" ' Precisely. Consider what the Ritual says. How does it run ? 
" Whose was it ? " " His who is gone.'' That was after the execution 
of Charles. Then " Who shall have it ? " " He who will come." 
That was Charles H., whose advent was already foreseen. There can, 
I think, be no doubt that this battered and shapeless diadem once 
encircled the brows of the Royal Stuarts.' 

" ' And how came it in the pond ? ' 

" ' Ah, that is a question which will take some time to answer,' 
and with that I sketched out the whole long chain of surmise and 
of proof which I had constructed. The twilight had closed in and the 
moon was shining brightly in the sky before my narrative was 

" ' And how was it, then, that Charles did not get his crown when 
he returned ? ' asked Musgrave, pushing back the relic into its 
linen bag. 

" ' Ah, there you lay your finger upon the one point which we 
shall probably never be able to clear up. It is likely that the 
Musgrave who held the secret died in the interval, and b}' some over- 
sight left this guide to his descendant without explaining the meaning 
of it. From that da}' to this it has been handed down from father to 
son, until at last it came within reach of a man who tore its secret out 
of it and lost his life in the venture.' 

" And that's the story of the Musgrave Ritual, Watson. They 
have the crown down at Hurlstone — though they had some legal 
bother, and a considerable sum to pay before they were allowed to 
retain it. I am sure that if \-ou mentioned my name they would be 
happy to show it to you. Of the woman nothing was ever heard, 
and the probability is that she got away out of England, and carried 
herself, and the memory of her crime, to some land beyond the seas." 


T was some time before the health of my friend, Mr. 
Sherlock Holmes, recovered from the strain caused by 
his immense exertions in the spring of '87. The whole 
question of the Netherland-Sumatra Company and of 
the colossal schemes of Baron Maupertuis is too recent 
in the minds of the public, and too intimately concerned with 
politics and finance, to be a fitting subject for this series of sketches. 
It led, however, in an indirect fashion to a singular and complex 
problem, which gave my friend an opportunity of demonstrating the 
value of a fresh weapon among the many with which he waged his 
life-long battle against crime. 

On referring to my notes, I see that it was on the 14th of April 
that I received a telegram from Lyons, which informed me that 
Holmes was lying ill in the Hotel Dulong. Within twenty-four 
hours I was in his sick room, and was relieved to find that there was 
nothing formidable in his symptoms. His iron constitution, how^ever, 
had broken down under the strain of an investigation which had 
extended over two months, during which period he had never worked 
less than fifteen hours a day, and had more than once, as he assured 
me, kept to his task for five days at a stretch. The triumphant issue 
of his labours could not save him from reaction after so terrible an 
exertion, and at a time when Europe was ringing with his name, and 
when his room was literally ankle-deep with congratulatory telegrams, 
I found him a prey to the blackest depression. Even the knowledge 
that he had succeeded where the police of three countries had failed, 
and that he had out-manoeuvred at every point the most accomplished 
swindler in Europe, was insufficient to rouse him from his nervous 


Three days later we were back in Baker Street together, but 
it was evident that my friend would be much the better for a change, 
and the thought of a week of spring-time in the country was full of 
attractions to me also. My old friend Colonel Hayter, who had come 
under my professional care in Afghanistan, had now taken a house 
near Reigate, in Surrey, and had frequently asked me to come down 
to him upon a visit. On the last occasion he had remarked that if 
my friend w^ould only come with me, he would be glad to extend his 
hospitality to him also. A little diplomacy was needed, but when 
Holmes understood that the establishment was a bachelor one, and 
that he would be allowed the fullest freedom, he fell in with my plans, 
and a week after our return from Lyons we were under the Colonel's 
roof. Hayter was a fine old soldier, who had seen much of the world, 
and he soon found, as I had expected, that Holrpes and he had plenty 
in common. 

On the evening of our arrival we were sitting in the Colonel's 
gun-room after dinner, Holmes stretched upon the sofa, while Hayter 
and I looked over his little armoury of fire-arms. 

" By the way," said he, suddenly, " I'll take one of these pistols 
upstairs with me in case we have an alarm." 

" An alarm ! " said I. 

" Yes, we've had a scare in this part lately. Old Acton, who is 
one of our county magnates, had his house broken into last Monda}'. 
No great damage done, but the fellows are still at large." 

" No clue ? " asked Holmes, cocking his eye at the Colonel. 

" None as yet. But the affair is a petty one, one of our little 
country crimes, which must seem too small for }-our attention, Mr. 
Holmes, after this great international affair." 

Holmes waved away the compliment, though his smile showed 
that it had pleased him. 

" Was there any feature of interest ? " 

" I fancy not. The thieves ransacked the library and got very 
little for their pains. The whole place was turned upside down, 
drawers burst open and ransacked, with the result that an odd 
volume of Pope's ' Homer,' two plated candlesticks, an ivory letter- 
weight, a small oak barometer, and a ball of twine arc all that have 



" What an extraordinary assortment ! " I exclaimed. 

" Oh, the fellows evidently grabbed hold of anything they could 


Holmes grunted from the sofa. 

" The county police ought to make something of that," said he. 

" Why, it is surely obvious that " 

But I held up a warning finger. 


" You are here for a rest, my dear fellow. For Heaven's sake, 
don't get started on a new problem when your nerves are all in 

Holmes shrugged his shoulders with a glance of comic resignation 
towards the Colonel, and the talk drifted away into less dangerous 

It was destined, however, that all my professional caution should 
be wasted, for next morning the problem obtruded itself upon us in 
such a way that it was impossible to ignore it, and ou*" country visit 
took a turn which neither of us could have anticipated. We were at 
breakfast when the Colonel's butler rushed in with all his propriety 
shaken out of him. 


" Have you heard the news, sir ? " he gasped. " At the Cunning- 
hams', sir ! " 

" Burglary ? " cried the Colonel, with his coffee cup in mid air. 

" Murder ! " 

The Colonel whistled. " By Jove ! " said he, " who's killed, then ? 
The J. P. or his son ? " 

" Neither, sir. It was William, the coachman. Shot through the 
heart, sir, and never spoke again." 

" Who shot him, then ? " 

" The burglar, sir. He w-as off like a shot and got clean away. 
He'd just broke in at the pantry window when William came on him 
and met his end in saving his master's property." 

" What time ? " 

" It was last night, sir, somewhere about twelve." 

" Ah, then, we'll step over presently," said the Colonel, coolly 
settling down to his breakfast again. " It's a baddish business," he 
added, when the butler had gone. " He's our leading squire about 
here, is old Cunningham, and a very decent fellow too. He'll be cut 
up over this, for the man has been in his service for \'ears, and was a 
good servant. It's evidently the same villains who broke into 

" And stole that very singular collection ? " said Piolmes, thought- 

" Precisely." 

" Hum ! It may prove the simplest matter in the world ; but, all 
the same, at first glance this is just a little curious, is it not? A gang 
of burglars acting in the country might be expected to vary the scene 
of their operations, and not to crack two cribs in the same district 
within a i^w days. When you spoke last night of taking precautions, 
I remember that it passed through my mind that this was probably 
the last parish in lingland to which the thief or thieves would be 
likely to turn their attention ; which shows that I have still much to 

"I fancy it's some local practitioner," said the Colonel. " In that 
case, of course, Acton's and Cunningham's are just the places he 
would go for, since they are far the largest about here." 

" And richest ? " 



" Well, they ought to be ; but they've had a law-suit for some 
years which has sucked the blood out of both of them, I fancy. Old 
Acton has some claim on half Cunningham's estate, and the lawyers 
have been at it with both hands." 

" If it's a local villain, there should not be much difficulty in 
running him down," said Holmes, with a yawn. " All right, Watson, 
I don't intend to meddle." 

" Inspector Forrester, sir," said the butler, throwing open the door. 


The official, a smart, keen-faced young fellow, stepped into the 
room. " Good morning, Colonel," said he. " I hope I don't intrude, 
but we hear that Mr. Holmes, of Baker Street, is here." 

The Colonel waved his hand towards m}- friend, and the 
Inspector bowed. 


" We thought that perhaps you would care to step across, 
Mr. Hoh-nes." 

" The Fates are against you, Watson," said he, laughing. " We 
were chatting about the matter when you came in. Inspector. 
Perliaps you can let us have a few details." As he leaned back in his 
chair in the familiar attitude I knew that the case was hopeless. 

" We had no clue in the Acton affair. But here we have plenty 
to go on, and there's no doubt it is the same party in each case. The 
man was seen." 

" Ah ! " 

" Yes, sir. But he was off like a deer after the shot that killed 
poor William Kirwan was fired. Mr. Cunningham saw him from the 
bedroom window, and Mr. Alec Cunningham saw him from the back 
passage. It was a quarter to twelve when the alarm broke out. Mr. 
Cunningham had just got into bed, and Mister Alec was smoking a 
pipe in his dressing-gown. They both heard William, the coachman, 
calling for help, and Mister Alec he ran down, to see what was the 
matter. The back door was open, and as he came to the foot of the 
stairs he saw two men wrestling together outside. One of them fired 
a shot, the other dropped, and the murderer rushed across the garden 
and over the hedge. Mr. Cunningham, looking out of his bedroom 
window, saw the fellow as he gained the road, but lost sight of him at 
once. Mister Alec stopped to see if he could help the dying man, 
and so the villain got clean awav. Bevond the fact that he was a 
middle-sized man, and dressed in some dark stuff, we have no personal 
clue, but we are making energetic inquiries, and if he is a stranger we 
shall soon find him out." 

" What was this William doing there ? Did he say anything 
before he died ? " 

" Not a word. He lives at the lodge with his mother, and as he 
was a very faithful fellow, we imagine that he walked up to the house 
with the intention of seeing that all was right there. Of course, this 
Acton business has put everyone on their guard. The robber must 
have just burst open the door — the lock has been forced — when 
William came upon him." 

" Did William say anything to his mother before going out? " 

"She is very old and deaf, and wc can get no informatii n from 


her. The shock has made her half-witted, but 1 understand that she 
was never very bright. There is one very important circumstance, 
however. Look at this ! " 

He took a small piece of torn paper from a note-book and spread 
it out upon his knee. 

"This was found between the finger and thumb of the dead man. 
It appears to be a fragment torn from a larger sheet. You will 
observe that the hour mentioned upon it is the very time at which the 
poor fellow met his fate. You see that his murderer might have torn 
the rest of the sheet froin him, or he might have taken this fragment 
from the murderer. It reads almost as though it was an appoint- 

Holmes took up the scrap of paper, a facsimile of which is here 

" Presuming that it is an appoint- 
ment," continued the Inspector, "it is, of I ^ piA^^^^-CAja 'Ujt^Cn. 
course, a conceivable theory that this 

William Kirwan, although he had the \i^i2>/vii cj-^LJl- 

reputation of being an honest man, may 
have been in league with the thief. 
He may have met him there, may even 
have helped him to break in the door, 
and then they ma\^ have fallen out between themselves 

" This writing is of extraordinary interest," said Holmes, who had 
been examining it with intense concentration. " These are much 
deeper waters than I had thought." He sank his head upon his 
hands, while the Inspector smiled at the effect which his case had had 
upon the famous London specialist. 

" Your last remark," said Hohries, presently, " as to the possibility 
of there being an understanding between the burglar and the servant, 
and this being a note of appointment from one to the other, is 
an ingenious and not entirely an impossible supposition. But this 

writing opens up " he sank his head into his hands again and 

remained for some minutes in the deepest thought. When he raised 
his face I was surprised to see that his cheek was tinged with 
colour, and his eyes as bright as before his illness. He sprang to his 
feet with all his old energy. 

... " 


" I'll tell you what ! " said he. " I should like to have a quiet 
little <^lance into the details of this case. There is something in it 
which fascinates me extremely. If you will permit me, Colonel, I will 
leave my friend, Watson, and you, and I will step round with the 
Inspector to test the truth of one or two little fancies of mine. I 
will be with }-ou again in half an hour." 

An hour and a half had elapsed before the Inspector returned 

" Mr. Holmes is walking up and down in the field outside," said 
he. " He wants us all four to go up to the house together." 

" To Mr. Cunningham's ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" What for ? " 

The Inspector shrugged his shoulders. " I don't quite know, sir. 
Between ourselves, I think Mr. Holmes has not quite got over his 
illness yet. He's been behaving very queerly, and he is very much 

" I don't think you need alarm yourself," said I. " I have usually 
found that there was method in his madness." 

' " Some folk might say there was madness in his method," muttered 
the Inspector. " But he's all on fire to start, Colonel, so we had best 
go out, if you are ready." 

We found Holmes pacing up and down in the field, his chm sunk 
upon his breast, and his hands thrust into his trouser pockets. 

" The matter grows in interest," said he. " Watson, your country 
trip has been a distinct success. I have had a charming morning." 

" You have been up to the scene of the crime, I understand ? " 
said the Colonel. 

" Yes ; the Inspector and I have made quite a little reconnaissance 

" Any success ? " 

" Well, we have seen some very interesting things. I'll tell you 
what we did as we walk. First of all we saw the body of this unfor- 
tunate man. He certainly died from a revolver wound, as reported." 

" Had )'ou doubted it, then ? " 

" Oh, it is as well to test everything. Our inspection was not 
wasted. We then had an intcrxicw w ilh Mr. Cunningham and his 


son, who were able to point out the exact spot where the murderer 
had broken through the garden hedge in his flight. That was of 
great interest." 

" Naturally." 

" Then we had a look at this poor fellow's mother. We 
could Gfet no information from her, howe\-er, as she is ver\' old and 

" And what is the result of your investigations ? " 

" The conviction that the crime is a very peculiar one. Perhaps 
our visit now may do something to make it less obscure. I think that 
we are both agreed, Inspector, that the fragment of paper in the dead 
man's hand, bearing, as it does, the very hour of his death written 
upon it, is of extreme importance." 

" It should give a clue, Mr. Holmes." 

" It does give a clue. Whoever wrote that note was the man who 
brought William Kirwan out of his bed at that hour. But where is 
the rest of that sheet of paper ? " 

" I examined the ground carefully in the hope of finding it," saitl 
the Inspector. 

" It was torn out of the dead man's hand. Why was someone so 
anxious to get possession of it ? Because it incriminated him. And 
what would he do with it ? Thrust it into his pocket most likel}-, 
never noticing that a corner of it had been left in the grip of the 
corpse. If we could get the rest of that sheet, it is obvious that we 
should have gone a long wa}' towards solving the m}'stery." 

"Yes, but how can we get at the criminal's pocket before we 
catch the criminal ? " 

" Well, well, it ^vas worth thinking over. Then there is another 

obvious point. The note was sent to \\'illiam. The man who wrote 

it could not have taken it, otherwise of course he might have delivered 

his own message by word of mouth. \Mio brought the note, then ? 

Or did it come through the post ? " 

" I have made inquiries," said the Inspector. , " William received 

a letter b\- the afternoon post }'esterda}-. The envelope was destroyed 

b)- him." 

" Excellent!" cried Holmes, clapping the Inspector on the back. 

"You've seen the postman. It is a pleasure to work with )-ou. Well, 



here is the lodge, and if \-ou will come up, Colonel, I will show j-ou 
the scene of the crime." 

We passed the pretty cottage where the murdered man had 
lived, and walked up an oak-lined a\'enue to the fine old Queen Anne 
house, which bears the date of Malplaquet upon the lintel of the 
door. Holmes and the Inspector led us round it until we came to 
the side gate, which is separated by a stretch of garden from the 
hedge which lines the road. A constable was standing at the 
kitchen door. 

" Throw the door open, officer," said Holmes. " Now it was on 
those stairs that young Mr. Cunningham stood and saw the two men 
struggling just where we are. Old Mr. Cunningham was at that 
window — the second on the left — and he saw the fellow get away just 
to the left of that bush. So did the son. They are both sure of it, on 
account of the bush. Then Mister Alec ran out and knelt beside the 
wounded man. The ground is very hard, you see, and there are no 
marks to guide us." 

As he spoke two men came down the garden path, from round 
the angle of the house. The one was an elderl\- man, with a stroncf, 
deep-lined, heavy-eyed face ; the other a dashing young fellow, whose 
bright, smiling expression and show}' dress were in strange contrast 
w ith the business which had brought us there. 

" Still at it, then ? " said he to Holmes. " I thought }'ou 
Londoners were never at fault. You don't seem to be so ver)- quick 
after all." 

" Ah ! \-ou must give us a little time," said Holmes, good- 

" You'll want it," said young Alec Cunningham. " Wh\-, I don't 
see that we have any clue at all." 

" There's only one," answered the Inspector. " \\'e thought that 

if we could only find Good heavens ! Mr. Holmes, what is the 

matter ? " 

My poor friend's face had suddenly assumed the most dreadful 
expression. His eyes rolled upwards, his features writhed in agon}-, 
and with a suppressed groan he dropped on his face upon the ground. 
Horrified at the suddenness and severit}' of the attack, we carried him 
into the kitchen, where he la\' back in a large chair anrl breathcfl 



heavily for some minutes. Finally, with a shame-faced apology for 
his weakness, he rose once more. 

" Watson would tell you that I 
have only just recovered from a 

"good heavens! what is the matter?" 

severe illness," he explained. " I am liable to these sudden nervous 

" Shall I send }'Ou home in my trap ? " asked old Cunningham. 

" Well, since I am here, there is one point on which I should like 
to feel sure. We can very easily verify it." 

" What is it ? " 

" Well, it seems to me that it is just possible that the arrival of 
tliis poor fellow William was not before but after the entrance of the 
burglar into the house. You appear to take it for granted that 
although the door was forced the robber never got in." 

"I fancy that is quite obvious," said Mr. Cunningham, gravely. 


" Wh}% my son Alec had not yet gone to bed, and he would certainly 
have heard anyone moving about." 

" Where was he sitting ? " • 

" I was sitting smoking in my dressing-room." 

" Which window is that ? " 

" The last on the left, next my father's." 

" Both your lamps were lit, of course ? " 

" Undoubtedly." 

" There are .some very singular points here," said Holmes, smiling. 
" Is it not extraordinary that a burglar — and a burglar who had had 
some previous experience — should deliberately break into a house at 
a time when he could see from the lights that two of the family were 
still afoot ? " 

" He must have been a cool hand." 

" Well, of course, if the case were not an odd one we should not 
have been driven to ask you for an explanation," said Mister Alec. 
" But as to your idea that the man had robbed the house before 
William tackled him, I think it a most absurd notion. Shouldn't we 
have found the place disarranged and missed the things which he had 
taken ? " 

" It depends on what the things were," said Holmes. "You must 
remember that we are dealing with a burglar who is a very peculiar 
fellow, and who appears to work on lines of his own. Look, for 
example, at the queer lot of things which he took from Acton's — 
what was it ? — a ball of string, a letter-weight, and I don't know what 
other odds and ends ! " 

Well, we are quite in }'our hands, Mr. Holmes," said old 
Cunningham. " Anything which }'OU or the Inspector may suggest 
will most certainly be done." 

" In the first place," said Holmes, " I should like j-ou to offer a 
reward — coming from yourself, for the officials may take a little time 
before they would agree upon the sum, and these things cannot be 
done too promptly. I have jotted down the form here, if you would 
not mind signing it. Fifty pounds was quite enough, I thought." 

" I would willingly give five hundred," said the J. P., taking the 
slip of paper and the pencil which Holines handed to him. " This is 
not quite correct, however," he added, glancing over the document. 


" I wrote it rather hurriedly." 

" You sec you begin : ' Whereas, at about a quarter to one on 
Tuesday morning, an attempt was made ' — and so on. It was at a 
quarter to twelve, as a matter of fact." 

I was pained at the mistake, for I knew how keenly Holmes 
would feel any slip of the kind. It was his speciality to be accurate 
as to fact, but his recent illness had shaken him, and this one little 
incident was enough to show me that he was still far from being 
himself He was obviously embarrassed for an instant, while the 
Inspector raised his eyebrows and Alec Cunningham burst into a 
laugh. The old gentleman corrected the mistake, however, and 
handed the paper back to Holmes. 

" Get it printed as soon as possible," he said. " I think your idea 
is an excellent one." 

Holmes put the slip of paper carefully away in his pocket-book. 

" And now," said he, " it would really be a good thing that we 
should all go over the house together and muike certain that this 
rather erratic burglar did not, after all, carry anything away with him." 

Before entering. Holmes made an examination of the door which 
had been forced. It was evident that a chisel or strong knife had 
been thrust in, and the lock forced back with it. We could see the 
marks in the wood where it had been pushed in. 

" You don't use bars, then ? " he asked. 

" We have never found it necessary." 

" You don't keep a dog ? " 

" Yes ; but he is chained on the other side of the house." 

" When do the servants go to bed ? " 

" About ten." 

" I understand that William was usually in bed also at that hour? " 

" Yes." 

" It is singular that on this particular night he should have been 
up. Now, I should be very glad if you would have the kindness to 
show us over the house, Mr. Cunningham." 

A stone-flagged passage, with the kitchens branching away from 
it, led by a wooden staircase directly to the first floor of the house. 
It came out upon the landing opposite to a second more ornamental 
stair which led up from the front hall. Out of this landing opened 


the drawing-room and several bedrooms, including those of Mr. 
Cunningham and his son. Holmes walked slowly, taking keen note 
of the architecture of the house. I could tell from his expression that 
he was on a hot scent, and yet I could not in the least imagine in 
what direction his inferences were leading him. 

" My good sir," .said Mr. Cunningham, with some impatience, 
" this is surely very unnecessary. That is my room at the end of the 
stairs, and my son's is the one beyond it. I leave it to your judgment 
whether it was possible for the thief to have come up here without 
disturbing us." 

" You must try round and get on a fresh scent, I fancy," said the 
son, with a rather malicious smile. 

" Still, I must ask you to humour me a little further. I should 
like, for example, to see how far the windows of the bedrooms 
command the front. This, I understand, is your son's room " — he 
pushed open the door — "and that, I presume, is the dressing- 
room in which he sat smoking when the alarm was given. 
Where does the window of that look out to ? " He stepped 
across the bedroom, pushed open the door, and glanced round the 
other chamber. 

" I hope you are satisfied now ? " said Mr. Cunningham, testily. 
" Thank you ; I think I have seen all that I wished." 
" Then, if it is really necessary, we can go into my room." 
" If it is not too much trouble." 

The J. P. shrugged his shoulders, and led the way into his own 
chamber, which was a plainly furnished and commonplace room. As 
we moved across it in the direction of the window. Holmes fell back 
until he and I were the last of the group. Near the foot of the bed 
was a small square table, on which stood a dish of oranges and a carafe 
of water. As we passed it, Holmes, to my unutterable astonishment, 
leaned over in front of me and deliberately knocked the whole thing 
over. The glass smashed into a thousand pieces, and the fruit rolled 
about into every corner of the room. 

" You've done it now, Watson," said he, cooll\-. " A pretty mess 
you've made of the carpet." 

I, stooped in some confusion and began to pick up the fruit, 
understanding that fur some reason ni}- companion desired mc to 





take the blame upon myself. The others did the same, and set the 

table on its legs again. 

" Halloa ! " cried the Inspector, " where's he got to ? " 

Holmes had disappeared. 

" Wait here an instant," said young Alec Cunningham. " The 
fellow is off his head, in my opinion. Come with me, father, and see 
where he has got to ! " 

They rushed out of the room, leaving the Inspector, the Colonel, 
and me staring at each other. 

" Ton my word, I am inclined to agree with Mister Alec," said 
the official. " It mav be the effect of this illness, but it seems to me 
that " 

His words were cut short by a sudden scream of" Help ! Help ! 
Murder! " With a thrill I recognised the voice as that of my friend. 



I rushed madly from the 
room on to the landing. 
The cries, which had 
sunk down into a hoarse, 
inarticulate shouting, 
came from the room which 
we had first visited. I 
dashed in, and on into 
the dressing-room beyond. 
The two Cunninghams 
were bending over the 

|,,|j,illil,«lill|il(lliili«i«»'"'« " ]]|||jl|i 


prostrate figure of Sherlock Holmes, the younger clutching his 
throat with both hands, while the elder seemed to be twisting one of 
his wrists. In an instant the three of us had torn them away from 
him, and Holmes staggered to his feet, very pale, and evidently 
greatly exhausted. 

" Arrest these men, Inspector ! " he gasped. 

" On what charge ? " 

" That of murdering their coachman, William Kirwan ! " 

The Inspector stared about him in bewilderment. " Oh, come 
now, Mr. Holmes," said he at last ; " I am sure you don't really 
mean to " 


" Tut, man ; look at their faces ! " cried Holmes, curtly. 

Never, certainly, have I seen a plainer confession of guilt upon 
human countenances. The older man seemed numbed and dazed, 
with a heavy, sullen expression upon his strongly marked face. The 
son, on the other hand, had dropped all that jaunty, dashing style 
which had characterized him, and the ferocity of a dangerous wild 
beast gleamed in his dark eyes and distorted his handsome features. 
The Inspector said nothing, but, stepping to the door, he blew his 
whistle. Two of his constables came at the call. 

" I have no alternative, Mr. Cunningham," said he. " I trust that 
this may all prove to be an absurd mistake ; but you can sec 

that Ah, would you ? Drop it ! " He struck out with his hand, 

and a revolver, which the younger man was in the act of cocking, 
clattered down upon the floor. 

" Keep that," said Holmes, quickly putting his foot upon it. 
" You will find it useful at the trial. But this is what we really 
wanted." He held up a little crumpled piece of paper. 

"The remainder of the sheet ! " cried the Inspector. 

" Precisely." 

" And where was it ? " 

" Where I was sure it must be. I'll make the whole matter clear 
to you presently. I think, Colonel, that you and Watson might 
return now, and I will be with you again in an hour at the furthest. 
The Inspector and I must have a word with the prisoners ; but you 
will certainly see me back at luncheon time." 

Sherlock Holmes was as good as his word, for about one o'clock 
he rejoined us in the Colonel's smoking-room. He was accompanied 
by a little, elderly gentleman, who was introduced to me as the Mr. 
Acton whose house had been the scene of the original burglary. 

" I wished Mr. Acton to be present while I demonstrated this 
small matter to you," said Holmes, " for it is natural that he should 
take a keen interest, in the details. I am afraid, my dear Colonel, that 
you must regret the hour that you took in such a stormy petrel 
as I am." 

" On the contrary," answered the Colonel, warmly, " I consider it 
the greatest privilege to have been permitted to study your methods 
of working. I confess that they quite surpass my expectations, and 


that I am utterly unable to account for your result. I have not yet 
seen the vestige of a clue." 

" I am afraid that my explanation may disillusionize you, but it 
has always been my habit to hide none of my methods, either from 
my friend Watson or from anyone who might take an intelligent 
interest in them. But first, as I am rather shaken by the knocking 
about which I had in the dressing-room, I think that I shall help 
myself to a dash of your brandy, Colonel. My strength has been 
rather tried of late." 

" I trust you had no more of those nervous attacks." 

Sherlock Holmes laughed heartily. " We will come to that in 
its turn," said he. " I will lay an account of the case before you in 
its due order, showing you the various points which guided me in my 
decision. Pray interrupt me if there is any inference which is not 
perfectly clear to you. 

" It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able 
to recognise out of a number of facts which are incidental and which 
vital. Otherwise your energy and attention must be dissipated 
instead of being concentrated. Now, in this case there was not the 
slightest doubt in m\' mind from the first that the key of the whole 
matter must be looked for in the scrap of paper in the dead man's 

" Before going into this I would draw your attention to the fact 
that if Alec Cunningham's narrati\e were correct, and if the assailant 
after shooting William Kirwan had instmttly fled, then it obviously 
could not be he who tore the paper from the dead man's hand. But 
if it was not he, it must have been Alec Cunningham himself, for by 
the time that the old man had descended several servants were upon 
the scene. The point is a simple one, but the Inspector had over- 
looked it because he had started with the supposition that these 
county magnates had had nothing to do with the matter. Now, I 
make a point of never having any prejudices and of following docilely 
wherever fact may lead me, and so in the very first stage of the 
investigation I found m)'self looking a little askance at the jxirt 
which had been played by Mr, Alec Cunningham. 

" And now I made a very careful examination of the ci)rner of 
paper which the Inspector had submitted to us. it was at once clear 




to me that it formed part of a ver}- remarkable document. Here it is. 
Do you not now observe something very suggesti\e about it ? " 

" It has a very irregular look," said the Colonel. 

" My dear sir," cried Holmes, " there cannot be the least doubt in 
the world that it has been written by two persons doing alternate 
words. When I draw your attention to the strong t's of ' at ' and ' to ' 
and ask you to compare them with the weak ones of ' quarter ' and 
' twelve,' you will instantly recognise the fact. A very brief anal}'sis 
of those four words would enable you to say with the utmost 
confidence that the ' learn ' and the ' maybe ' are written in the stronger 
hand, and the ' what ' in the weaker." 

" By Jove, it's as clear as day ! " cried the Colonel. " Why on 
earth should two men write a letter in such a fashion ? " 

" Obviously the business was a bad one, and one of the 
men who distrusted the other was determined that, whatever 
was done, each should ha\c an ce|ual hand in it. Now, of the 


two men it is clear that the one who wrote the ' at ' and ' to ' 
was the ringleader." 

" How do you get at that ? " 

" We might deduce it from the mere character of the one hand as 
compared with the other. Bui we have more assured reasons than 
that for supposing it. If you examine this scrap with attention you 
will come to the conclusion that the man with the stronger hand wrote 
all his words first, leaving blanks for the other to fill up. These 
blanks were not always sufficient, and you can see that the second 
man had a squeeze to fit his 'quarter' in between the ' at ' and the 
' to,' showing that the latter were already written. The man who wrote 
all his words first is undoubtedly the man who planned this affair." 

" Excellent ! " cried Mr. Acton. 

" But very superficial," said Holmes. " We come now, however, 
to a point which is of importance. You may not be aware that the 
deduction of a man's age from his writing is one which has been brought 
to considerable accuracy by experts. In normal cases one can place 
a man in his true decade with tolerable confidence. I say normal 
cases, because ill-health and physical weakness reproduce the signs of 
old age, even when the invalid is a youth. In this case, looking at 
tlie bold, strong hand of the one, and the rather broken-backed appear- 
ance of the other, which still retains its legibility, "although the t'shave 
begun to lose their crossings, we can say that the one was a young 
man, and the other was advanced in years without being positively 

" Excellent ! " cried Mr. Acton again. 

" There is a further point, however, which is subtler and of greater 
interest. There is something in common between these hands. They 
belong to men who are blood-relatives. It may be most obvious to 
you in the Greek e's, but to me there are many small points which 
indicate the same thing. I have no doubt at all that a family man- 
nerism can be traced in these two specimens of writing. I am only, 
of course, giving you the leading results now of \-\\y examination of 
the paper. There were twenty-three other deductions which would be 
of more interest to experts than to you. They all tended to deepen 
the impression upon my mind that the Cunninghams, father and son, 
had written this letter. 



" Having got so far, my next step was, of course, to examine into 
the details of the crime and to see how far they would help us. I 
went up to the house with the Inspector, and saw all that was to be 
seen. The wound upon the dead man was, as I was able to determine 
with absolute confidence, caused by a shot from a revolver fired at the 
distance of something" over four yards. There was no powder-blackening 
on the clothes. Evidently, therefore, Alec Cunningham had lied when 


he said that the two men were struggling when the shot was fired. 
Again, both father and son agreed as to the place where the man 
escaped into the road. At that point, however, as it happens, there is 
a broadish ditch, moist at the bottom. As there were no indications 
of boot-marks about this ditch, I was absolutely sure not only that 
the Cunninghams had again lied, but that there had never been any 
unknown man upon the scene at all. 

" And now I had to consider the motive of this singular crime. 
To get at this I endeavoured first of all to solve the reason of the 
original burglary at Mr. Acton's. I understood from something which 
the Colonel told us that a law-suit had been going on between you, 
Mr, Acton, and the Cunninghams. Of course, it instantly occurred 


to me that they had broken into your Hbrary with the intention of 
getting at some document which might be of importance in the case." 

" Precisely so," said Mr. Acton ; "there can be no possible doubt 
as to their intentions. I have the clearest claim upon half their 
present estate, and if they could have found a single paper — which, 
fortunately, was in the strong box of my solicitors — they would 
undoubtedly have crippled our case." 

'"There you are ! " said Holmes, smiling. " It was a dangerous, 
reckless attempt in which I seem to trace the influence of }'oung Alec. 
Having found nothing, they tried to divert suspicion by making it 
appear to be an ordinary burglary, to which end they carried off 
whatever they could lay their hands upon. That is all clear enough, 
but there was much that was still obscure. What I wanted above all 
was to get the missing part of that note. I was certain that Alec had 
torn it out of the dead man's hand, and almost certain that he must 
have thrust it into the pocket of his dressing-gown. Where else 
could he have put it ? The only question was whether it was still 
there. It was worth an effort to find out, and for that object we all 
went up to the house. 

" The Cunninghams joined us, as you doubtless remember, out- 
side the kitchen door. It was, of course, of the very first importance 
that they should not be reminded of the existence of this paper, 
otherwise they vv^ould naturally destroy it without delay. The 
Inspector was about to tell them the importance which we attached 
to it when, by the luckiest chance in the world, I tumbled down in a 
sort of fit and so changed the conversation." 

" Good heavens ! " cried the Colonel, laughing. " Do you mean 
to say all our sympathy was wasted and your fit an imposture ? " 

" Speaking professionall\\ it was admirably done," cried I, looking 
in amazement at this man who was for ever confounding me with 
some new phase of his astuteness. 

" It is an art which is often useful," said he. " When I recovered 
I managed by a device, which had, perhaps, some little merit of 
ingenuity, to get old Cunningham to write the word ' twelve,' so that 
I might compare it with the ' twelve ' upon the paper." 

" Oh, what an ass I have been ! " I exclaimed. 

" I could see that you were commiserating with me over my 


weakness," said Holmes, laughing. " I was sorry to cause you the 
sympathetic pain which I know that you felt. We then went upstairs 
together, and having entered the room and seen the dressing-gown 
hanging up behind the door, I contrived by upsetting a table to 
engage their attention for the moment and slipped back to examine 
the pockets. I had hardly got the paper, however, which was, as I 
had expected, in one of them, when the two Cunninghams were on 
me, and would, I verily believe, have murdered me then and there but 
for }'our prompt and friendly aid. As it is, I feel that young man's 
grip on my throat now', and the father has twisted my wrist round in 
the effort to get the paper out of m}- hand. The}- saw that I must 
know all about it, you see, and the sudden change from absolute 
security to complete despair made them perfectly desperate. 

" I had a little talk with old Cunningham afterwards as to the 
motive of the crime. He was tractable enough, though his son was a 
perfect demon, ready to blow out his own or anybody else's brains 
if he could have got to his revolver. When Cunningham saw that 
the case against him was so strong he lost all heart, and 
made a clean breast of everything. It seems that W^illiam had 
secretly followed his two masters on the night when they made their 
raid upon Mr. Acton's, and, having thus got them into his power, 
proceeded under threats of exposure to levy blackmail upon them. 
Mister Alec, however, was a dangerous man to play games of that 
sort with. It was a stroke of positive genius on his part to see in the 
burglary scare, which was convulsing the country side, an opportunity 
of plausibly getting rid of the man whom he feared. William was 
decoyed up and shot ; and, had they only got the whole of the note, 
and paid a little more attention to detail in their accessories, it is 
very possible that suspicion might never have been aroused." 

" And the note ? " I asked. 

Sherlock Holmes placed the subjoined paper before us. 

" It is very much the sort of thing that I expected," said he. 
" Of course, we do not }'et know what the relations may have been 
between Alec Cunningham, William Kirwan, and Annie Morrison. 
The result shows that the trap was skilfully baited. I am sure that 
you cannot fail to be delighted with the traces of heredity shown in 
the p's and in the tails of the g's. The absence of the i-dots in the 


uhifU ,/'^*-C "h/^aMvt ~ 

old man's writing is also most characteristic. Watson, I think our 
quiet rest in the country has been a distinct success, and I shall 
certainly return much invigorated, to Baker Street to-morrow." 


NE summer night, a few months after my marriage, I was 
seated , by my own hearth smoking a last pipe and 
nodding over a novel, for my day's work had been an 
exhausting one. My wife had already gone upstairs, and 
the sound of the locking of the hall door some time 
before told me that the servants had also retired. I had risen .from 
my seat and was knocking out the ashes of my pipe, when I suddenly 
heard the clang of the bell. 

I looked at the clock. It was a quarter to twelve. This could 
not be a visitor at so late an hour. A patient, evidently, and possibly 
an all-night sitting. With a wry face 1 went out into the hall and 
opened the door. To my astonishment, it was Sherlock Holmes who 
stood upon my step. 

" Ah, Watson," said he, " I hoped that I might not be too late to 
catch you." 

" My dear fellow, pray come in." 

" You looked surprised, and no wonder ! Relieved, too, I fancy ! 
Hum ! you still smoke the Arcadia mixture of your bachelor days, 
then ! There's no mistaking that fluffy ash upon your coat. It's easy 
to tell that you've been accustomed to wear a uniform, Watson ; you'll 
never pass as a pure-bred civilian as long as you keep that habit of 
carrying your handkerchief in your sleeve. Could you put me up 
to-night ? " 

" With pleasure." 

" You told me that you had bachelor quarters for one, and I see 
that you have no gentleman visitor at present. Your hat-stand pro- 
claims as much." 

" I shall be delighted if you will stay." 




"Thank you. I'll fill a vacant peg, then. Sony to see that 
}-ou"ve had the British workman in the house. He's a token of evil. 
Not the drains, I hope ? " 

" No, the gas." 

" Ah ! He has left \.\\o nail marks from his boot upon your 


linoleum just where the light strikes it. No, thank you, I had some 
supper at Waterloo, but I'll smoke a pipe with you with pleasure." 

I handed him my pouch, and he seated himself opposite to mc, 
and smoked for some time in silence. I was well aware that nothing 
but business of importance could ha\'e brought him to me at such an 
hour, so I waited patiently until he should come round to it. 


" I see that you are professional!)- rather busy just now," said he, 
glancing very keenly across at me. 

" Yes, I've had a busy da)-," I answered. " It may seem very 
foolish in )-our eyes," I added, " but rcall)- I dun't know how you 
deduced it." 

Holmes chuckled to himself. 

" I have the advantage of knowing your habits, my dear Watson," 
said he. " When your round is a short one you walk, and \\hen it is a 
long one you use a hansom. As I perceive that your boots, although 
used, are b)- no means dirt)-, I cannot doubt that you are at present 
busy enough to justify the hansom." 

" Excellent ! " I cried. 

" Elementar)%" said he. " It is one of those instances where the 
reasoner can produce an effect which seems remarkable to his neigh- 
bour, because the latter has missed the one little point which is the 
basis of the deduction. The same may be said, my dear fellow, for 
the effect of some of these little sketches of yours, which is entirel)^ 
meretricious, depending as it does upon your retaining in your own 
hands some factors in the problem which are never imparted to the 
reader. Now, at present I am in the position of these same readers, 
for I hold in this hand several threads of one of the strangest cases 
which ever perplexed a man's brain, and yet I lack the one or two 
which are needful to complete my theor)-. But I'll have them, 
Watson, I'll have them !" His eyes kindled and a slight flush sprang 
into his thin cheeks. For an instant the veil had lifted upon his keen, 
intense nature, but for an instant onl)-. When I glanced again his 
face had resumed that Red Indian composure which had made so 
many regard him as a machine rather than a man. 

" The problem presents features of interest," said he ; " I may 
even say ver)- exceptional features of interes-t. I have already looked 
into the matter, and have come, as I think, within sight of my 
solution. If )-ou could accompany me in that last step, you might be 
of considerable service to me." 

" I should be delighted." 

" Could you go as far as Alclershot to-morrow ? " 

" I have no doubt Jackson would take m)- practice." 

"Very good. I want to start b)- the from Waterloo," 


" That would give me time." 

" Then, if you are not too sleepy, I will give you a sketch of what 
has happened and of what remains to be done." 

" I was sleepy before you came. I am quite wakeful now." 

" I will compress the story as far as may be done without omitting 
anything vital to the case. It is conceivable that you may even have 
read some account of the matter. It is the supposed murder of 
Colonel Barclay, of the Royal Mallows, at Aldershot, which I am 

" I have heard nothing of it." 

"It has not excited much attention yet, except locally. The 
facts are only two days old. Briefly they are these : — 

" The Royal Mallows is, as you know, one of the most famous 
Irish regiments in the British Army. It did wonders both in the 
Crimea and the Mutiny, and has since that time distinguished itself 
upon every possible occasion. It was commanded up to Monday 
night by James Barclay, a gallant veteran, who started as a full 
private, was raised to commissioned rank for his bravery at the time 
of the Mutiny, and so lived to command the regiment in which he 
had once carried a musket. 

" Colonel Barclay had married at the time when he was a sergeant, 
and his wife, whose maiden name was Miss Nancy De^•oy, was the 
daughter of a former colour-sergeant in the same corps. There was, 
therefore, as can be imagined, some little social friction when the 
young couple (for they were still young) found themselves in their 
new surroundings. They ai)pear, however, to have quickly adapted 
themselves, and Mrs. Barclay has always, I understand, been as 
popular with the ladies of the regiment as her husband was with his 
brother officers. I may add that she was a woman of great beauty, 
and that even now, when she has been married for upwards of thirty 
years, she is still of a striking appearance. 

" Colonel Barclay's family life appears to have been a uniformly 
happ}' one. Major Murphy, to whom I owe most of my facts, assures 
me that he has never heard of any misunderstanding between the 
pair. On the whole, he thinks that Barclay's devotion to his wife was 
greater than his wife's to Barclay. He was acutely uneasy if he were 
absent from her for a day. She, on the other hand, though devoted 


and faithful, was less obtrusively affectionate. But they were 
regarded in the regiment as the very model of a middle-aged couple. 
There was absolutely nothing in their mutual relations to prepare 
people for the tragedy which was to follow. 

" Colonel Barclay himself .seems to have had some singular traits 
in his character. He was a dashing, jovial old soldier in his usual 
mood, but there were occasions on which he seemed to show himself 
capable of considerable violence and vindictiveness. This side of his 
nature, however, appears never to have been turned towards his wife. 
Another fact which had struck Major Murphy, and three out of five 
of the other officers with whom I conversed, was the singular sort of 
depression which came upon him at times. As the Major expressed 
it, the smile had often been struck from his mouth, as if by some 
invisible hand, when he has been joining in the gaieties and chaff of 
the mess table. For days on end when the mood was on him he had 
been sunk in the deepest gloom. This and a certain tinge of super- 
stition were the only unusual traits in his character which his brother 
officers had observed. The latter peculiarity tcjok the form of a 
dislike to being left alone, especially after dark. This puerile feature 
in a nature which was conspicuously manly had often given rise to 
comment and conjecture. 

" The first battalion of the Royal Mallows (which is the old 
117th) has been stationed at Aldershot for some years. The married 
officers live out of barracks, and the Colonel has during all this time 
occupied a villa called Lachine, about half a mile from the North 
Camp. The house stands in its own grounds, but the west side of it 
is not more than thirty yards from the high road. A coachman and 
two maids form the staff of servants. These, with their master and 
mistress, were the sole occupants of Lachine, for the Barclays had no 
children, nor was it usual for them to have resident visitors. 

" Now for the events at Lachine between nine and ten on the 
evening of last Monday. 

" Mrs. Barclay was, it appears, a member of the Roman Catholic 
Church, and had interested herself very much in the establishment of 
the Guild of St. George, which was formed in connection with the 
Watt Street Chapel for the purpose of supplying the poor with cast- 
off clothing. A meeting of the Guild had been held that evening at 


eight, and Mrs. Barclay had hurried over her dinner in order to be 
present at it. When leaving the house, she was heard b)- the coach- 
man to make some commonplace remark to her husband, and to 
assure him that she would be back before long. She then called for 
Miss Morrison, a )-oung lady who lives in the next villa, and the two 
went off together to their meeting. It lasted forty minutes, and at 
a quarter-past nine Mrs. Barclay returned home, having left Miss 
Morrison at her door as she passed. 

" There is a room which is used as a morning-room at Lachine. 
This faces the road and opens by a large glass folding door on to the 
lawn. The lawn is thirty yards across, and is only divided from the 
highway by a low wall with an iron rail above it. It was into this 
room that Mrs. Barclay went upon her return. The blinds were 
not down, for the room was seldom used in the evening, but Mrs. 
Barclay herself lit the lamp and then rang the bell, asking Jane 
Stewart, the housemaid, to bring her a cup of tea, which was quite, 
contrary to her usual habits. The Colonel had been sitting in the 
dining-room, but hearing that his wife had returned, he joined her in 
the morning-room. The coachman saw him cross the hall, and enter 
it. He was never seen again alive. 

" The tea which had been ordered was brought up at the end of 
ten minutes, but the maid, as she approached the door, was surprised 
to hear the voices of her master and mistress in furious altercation. 
She knocked without receiving an}- answer, and e\'en turned the 
handle, but onh- to find that the door was locked upon the inside. 
Naturally enough, she ran down to tell the cook, and the two women 
with the coachman came up into the hall and listened to the dispute 
which was still raging. They all agree that only two voices were to 
be heard, those of Barclay and his \\\{e. Barclay's remarks were 
subdued and abrupt, so that none of them were audible to the 
listeners. The lady's, on the other hand, were most bitter, and, when 
she raised her voice, could be plainly heard. ' You coward ! ' she 
repeated over and over again. ' What can be done now ? Give me 
back m}' life. I will never so much as breathe the same air as you 
again ! You coward ! You co\A'ard ! ' Those were scraps o{ her 
conversation, ending in a sudden dreadful cry in the man's voice, w ith 
a crash, and a piercing scream from the woman. Convinced that 



some tragedy had occurred, the coachman rushed to the door and 
strove to force it, while scream after scream issued from within. 
He was unable, howexer, to make his way in, and the maids 
were too distracted with fear to be of any assistance to him. A 
sudden thought struck him, however, and he ran through the hall door 


and round lO the lawn, upon which the long French windows opened. 
One side of the window was open, which I understand was quite usual 
in the summer-time, and he passed without difficulty into the room. 
His mistress had ceased to scream, and was stretched insensible upon 
a couch, while with his feet tilted over the side of an arm-chair, and 


his head upon the ground near the corner of the fender, was lying the 
unfortunate soldier, stone dead, in a pool of his own blood. 

" Naturally the coachman's first thought, on finding that he could 
do nothing for his master, was to open the door. But here an un- 
expected and singular difficulty presented itself The key was not on 
the inner side of the door, nor could he find it anywhere in the room. 
He went out again, therefore, through the window, and having obtained 
the help of a policeman and of a medical man, he returned. The 
lady, against whom naturally the strongest suspicion rested, was 
remoyed to her room, still in a state of insensibility. The Colonel's 
body was then placed upon the sofa, and a careful examination made 
of the scene of the tragedy. 

" The injury from which the unfortunate veteran was suffering 
was found to be a ragged cut, some two inches long, at the back part 
of his head, which had evidently been caused by a violent blow from 
a blunt weapon. Nor was it difficult to guess what that weapon may 
have been. Upon the floor, close to the body, was lying a singular 
club of hard carved wood with a bone handle. The Colonel possessed 
a varied collection of weapons brought from the different countries in 
which he had fought, and it is conjectured by the police that this club 
was among his trophies. The servants deny having seen it before, 
but among the numerous curiosities in the house it is possible that it 
may have been overlooked. Nothing else of importance was 
discovered in the room by the police, sa\'e the inexplicable fact that 
neither upon Mrs. Barclay's person, nor upon that of the victim, nor 
in any part of the room was the missing key to be found. The door 
had eventually to be opened by a locksmith from Aldershot. 

" That was the state of things, Watson, when upon the Tuesday 
morning I, at the request of Major Murphy, went down to Aldershot 
to supplement the efforts of the police. I think you will acknowledge 
that the problem was already one of interest, but my observations 
soon made me realize that it was in truth much more extraordinary 
than would at first sight appear. 

" Before examining the room I cross-questioned the servants, but 
only succeeded in eliciting the facts which I have already stated. One 
other detail of interest was remembered by Jane Stewart, the house- 
maid. You will remember that on hearing the sound of the quarrel 


she descended and returned with the other servants. On that first 
occasion, when she was alone, she saj-s that the voices of her master 
and mistress were sunk so low that she could hear hardl}' anything, 
and judged by their tones, rather than their words, that they had 
fallen out. On my pressing her, however, she remembered that she 
heard the word ' David ' uttered twice by the lad}-. The point is of 
the utmost importance as guiding us towards the reason of the sudden 
quarrel. The Colonel's name, you remember, was James. 

" There was one thing in tlic case which had made the deepest 
impression both upon the servants and the police. This was the 
contortion of the Colonel's face. It had set, according to their 
account, into the most dreadful expression of fear and horror which a 
human countenance is capable of assuming. More than one person 
fainted at the mere sight of him, so terrible was the effect. It was 
quite certain that he had foreseen his fate, and that it had caused hi'm 
the utmost horror. This, of course, fitted in well enough with the police 
theory, if the Colonel could have seen his wife making a murderous 
attack upon him. Nor was the fact of the wound being on the back 
of his head a fatal objection to this, as he might have turned to avoid 
the blow. No information could be got from the lady herself, who 
was temporarily insane from an acute attack of brain fever. 

" From the police I learned that Miss Morrison, who, }-ou re- 
member, went out that evening with Mrs. Barcla}', denied having any 
knowledge of what it was which had caused the ill-humour in which 
her companion had returned. 

" Having gathered these facts, Watson, I smoked several pipes 
over them, trying to separate those which were crucial from others 
which were merely incidental. There could be no question that 
the most distinctive and suggestive point in the case was the singular 
disappearance of the door key. A most careful search had failed 
to discover it in the room. Therefore, it must have been taken from 
it. But neither the Colonel nor the Colonel's wife could have taken 
it. That was perfectly clear. Therefore a third person must have 
entered the room. And that third person could only have 
come in through the window. It seemed to me that a 
careful examination of the room and the lawn might possibly 
reveal some traces of this mysterious individual. You know 



my methods, Watson. There was not one of them which I 
did not a}3pK' to the inquir}-. And it ended by my discovering 
traces, but \cr\' different ones from those which I had 
expected. There had been a man in the room, and he had 
crossed the lawn coming from the road. I was able to obtain five 
ver\- clear impressions of his footmarks — one on the roadwa\' itself, 
at the point where he had climbed the low wall, two on the lawn, and 
two ver\- faint ones upon the stained boards near the window where 
he had entered. He had apparently rushed across the lawn, for his 
toe marks were much deeper than his heels. But it was not the man 
who surprised me. It was his companion." 
" His companion ! " 

Holmes pulled a large sheet of tissue paper out of his pocket 
and carefully unfolded it upon his knee. 
^ " What do you make of that ? " he asked. 

'what no YOU MAKE OF THAT?" 

The paper was covered with tracings of the footmarks of some 
small animal. It had five well-marked footpads, an indication of long 
nails, and the whole print might be nearly as large as a dessert spoon. 

" It's a dog," said I. 


" Did ever you hear of a dog running up a curtain ? I found 
distinct traces that this creature had done so." 

" A monkey, then ? " 

" But it is not the print of a monkey." 

" What can it be, then ? " 

" Neither dog, nor cat, nor monke}', nor any creature that we are 
famiHar with. I ha\e tried to reconstruct it from the measurements. 
Here are four prints where the beast has been standing motionless. 
You see that it is no l^ss than fifteen inches from fore foot to hind. 
Add to tliat the length of neck and head, and you get a creature not 
much less than two feet long — probably more if there is any tail. 
But now observe this other measurement. The animal has been 
moving, and we have the length of its stride. In each case it is only 
about three inches. You ha\-c an indication, you see, of a long body 
with very short legs attached to it. It has not been considerate enough 
to leaxe any of its hair behind it. But its general shape must be what 
I have indicated, and it can run up a curtain and is carnivorous." 

" How do you deduce that ? " 

" Because it ran up the curtain. A canary's cage was hanging in 
the window, and its aim seems to have been to get at the bird." 

" Then what was the beast ? " 

" .\h. if I could give it a name it might go a long way towards 
solving the case. On the whole it was probabh- some creature of the 
weasel or stoat tribe— and }'et it is larger than any of these that I 
have seen." 

" But what had it to do with the crime ? " 

" That also is still obscure. But we have learned a good deal, 
you perceive. We know that a man stood in the road looking at the 
quarrel between the Barclays — the blinds were up and the room 
lighted. We know^ also that he ran across the lawn, entered the 
room, accompanied by a strange animal, and that he either struck the 
Colonel, or; as is equally possible, that the Colonel fell down from sheer 
fright at the sight of him, and cut his head on the corner of the 
fender. Finally, we have the curious fact that the intruder carried 
away the key with him when he left." 

" Your discoveries seem to have left the business more obscure 
than it was before," said I. 


" Quite so. They undoubtedly showed that the affair was much 
deeper than was at first conjectured. I thought the matter over, and 
I came to the conckision that I must approach the case from another 
aspect. But really, Watson, I am keeping you up, and I might just 
as well tell you all this on our way to Aldershot to-morrow." 

" Thank you, you've gone rather too far to stop." 

" It was quite certain that when Mrs. Barclay left the house at 
half-past seven she was on good terms with her husband. She was 
never, as I think I have said, ostentatiously affectionate, but she was 
heard b)' the coachman chatting with the Colonel in a friendly fashion. 
Now, it was equally certain that immediately on her return she had 
gone to the room in which she was least likely to see her husband, had 
flown to tea, as an agitated woman will, and, finally, on his coming in 
to her, had broken into violent recriminations. Therefore, something 
had occurred between .seven-thirty and nine o'clock which had com- 
pletely altered her feelings towards him. But Miss Morrison had 
been with her during the whole of that hour and a half It was 
absolutely certain, therefore, in spite of her denial, that she must 
know something of the matter. 

" My first conjecture was that possibly there had been some 
passages between this young woman and the old soldier, which the 
former had now confessed to the wife. That would account for the 
angry return and also for the girl's denial that anything had occurred. 
Nor would it be entirely incompatible with most of the words over- 
heard. But there was the reference to David, and there was the 
known affection of the Colonel for his wife to weigh against it, to say 
nothing of the tragic intrusion of this other man, which might, of 
course, be entirely disconnected with what had gone before. It was 
not easy to pick one's steps, but on the whole I was inclined to dismiss 
the idea that there had been anything between the Colonel and Miss 
Morrison, but more than ever convinced that the young lady held the 
clue as to what it was which had turned Mrs. Barcla}' to hatred of her 
husband. I took the obvious course, therefore, of calling upon Miss 
Morrison, of explaining to her that I was perfectly certain that she 
held the facts in her possession, and of assuring her that her friend, 
Mrs. Barcla)', might find herself in the dock upon a capital charge 
unless the matter were cleared ujx 


" Miss Morrison is a little, ethereal slip of a girl, with timid e)'es 
and blonde hair, but I found her by no means wanting in shrewdness 
and common sense. She sat thinking for some time after I had 
spoken, and then turning to me with a brisk air of resolution, she 
broke into a remarkable statement, which I will condense for your 

" ' I promised my friend that I would say nothing of the matter, 
and a promise is a promise,' said she. ' But if I can really help her 
when so serious a charge is made against her, and when her own 
mouth, poor darling, is closed by illness, then I think I am absoK-ed 
from my promise. I will tell you exactly what happened on Monday 

"'We were returning from the Watt Street Mission, about a 
quarter to nine o'clock. On our way we had to pass through Hudson 
Street, which is a very quiet thoroughfare. There is only one lamp 
in it upon the left-hand side, and as we approached this lamp I saw a 
man coming towards us with his back very bent, and something like a 
box slung over one of his shoulders. He appeared to be deformed, 
for he carried his head low, and walked with his knees bent. We 
were passing him when he raised his face to look at us in the circle of 
light thrown by the lamp, and as he did so he stopped and screamed 
out in a dreadful voice, " My God, it's Nancy ! " Mrs. Barclay turned 
as white as death, and would have fallen down had the dreadful- 
looking creature not caught hold of her. I was going to call for the 
police, but she, to my surprise, spoke quite civill}' to the fellow. 

" ' I thought you had been dead this thirty years, Henry,' said 
she, in a shaking voice. 

" ' So I have,' said he, and it was awful to hear the tones that he 

said it in. He had a ver}' dark, fearsome face, and a gleam in his 

eyes that comes back to me in my dreams. His hair and whiskers 

.were shot with grey, and his face was all crinkled and puckered like a 

withered apple. 

" ' Just walk on a little way, dear,' said Mrs. Barclay. ' I want to 
have a word with this man. There is nothing to be afraid of She 
tried to speak boldly, but she was still deadly pale, and could hardly 
get her words out for the trembling of her lips. 

" ' I did as she asked me, and they talked together for a {qv^ 




minutes. Then she came down the street with her eyes blazing, and 
I saw the crippled wretch standing- by the lam[)-post and shaking his 
clenched fists in the air, as if he were mad with rage. She never said 
a word until we were at the door here, when she took mc by the hand 
and begged me to tell no one what had happened. " It is an old 
acquaintance of mine who has come down in the world," said she. 
When I promised her that I would say nothing she kissed mc, and I 
have never seen her since. I have told you now the whole truth, and 
if I withheld it from the police it is because I did not realize then the 
danger in which m}- dear friend stood. I know that it can onl}- be to 
her advantage that cvcr\-thing should be known.' 

" There was her statement, Watson, and to me, as you can 



imagine, it was like a light on a dark night. P2verything which had 
been disconnected before began at once to assume its true jDlace, and 
I had a shadowy presentiment of the whole sequence of events. My 
next step obviously was to find the man who had produced such a 
remarkable impression upon Mrs. Barclay. If he were still in Alder- 
shot it should not be a very difficult matter. There arc not such, a 
ver}' great number of civilians, and a deformed man was sure to have 
attracted attention. I spent a day in the search, and by evening — 
this very evening, Watson — I had run him down. The man's name 
is Henry Wood, and he liv^es in lodgings in this same street in which 
the ladies met him. ► He has only been five days in the place. In 
the character of a registration agent I had a most interesting gossip 
with his landlady. The man is by trade a conjurer and performer, 
going round the canteens, after nightfall, and giving a little entertain- 
ment at each. He carries some creature about with him in his box, 
about which the landlady seemed to be in considerable trepidation, 
for she had never seen an animal like it. He uses it in some of his 
tricks, according to her account. So mucli the woman was able to 
tell me, and also that it was a wonder the man lived, seeing how 
twisted he v/as, and that he spoke in a strange tongue sometimes, 
and that for the last two nights she had heard him groaning and 
weeping in his bedroom. He was all right as far as money went, 
but in his deposit he had given her what looked like a bad florin. 
She showed it to me, Watson, and it was an Indian rupee. 

" So now, my dear fellow, you see exacth' how we stand and why 
it is I want }-ou. It is perfect!}' plain that after the ladies parted 
from this man he followed them at a distance, that he saw the quarrel 
between husband and wife through the window, that he rushed in, 
and that the creature which he carried in his box got loose. That is 
all very certain. But he is the onh- person in this world who can tell 
us exact!)- what happened in that room." 

" x^nd }'Ou intend to ask him ? " 

" Most certainh' — but in the presence of a witness." 

" And I am the witness ? " 

" If you will be so good. If he can clear the matter up, well and 
good. If he refuses, we have no alternative but to appK' for a warrant." 

" But how do you know he will be there when we return ? "' 


'■ You may be sure that I took some precautions. I have one 
of my Baker Street boys mounting guard over him who would 
stick to him Hke a burr, go where he might. We shall find him in 
Hudson Street to-morrow, Watson ; and meanwdiile I should be the 
criminal myself if I kept you out of bed any longer." 

It was midday when we found ourselves at the scene of the 
tragedy, and, under my companion's guidance, w'e made our way at 
once to Hudson Street. In spite of his capacity for concealing his 
emotions I could easily see that Holmes was in a state of suppressed 
excitement, while I was myself tingling with that half-sporting, half- 
intellectual pleasure which I invariably experienced when I associated 
myself with him in his investigations. 

" This is the street," said he, as he turned into a short thorough- 
fare lined with plain, two-storied brick houses — " Ah ! here is Simpson 
to report." 

" He's in all right, Mr. Holmes," cried a small street Arab, 
running up to us. 

" Good, Simpson ! " said Holmes, patting him on the head. 
" Come along, Watson, This is the house." He sent in his card with 
a message that he had come on important business, and a moment 
later we were face to face with the man whom we had come to sec. 
In spite of the warm weather he was crouching over a fire, and the 
little room was like an oven. The man sat all twisted and huddled 
in his chair in a way which gave an indescribable impression of 
deformity, but the face which he turned towards us, though worn 
and swarthy, must at some time have been remarkable for its beauty. 
He looked suspiciously at us now out of yellow-shot bilious eyes, 
and, without speaking or rising, he waved towards two chairs. 

"Mr. Henry Wood, late of India, I believe?" said Holmes, 
affably. " I've come over this little matter of Colonel Barclay's 

" What should I know about that? " 

" That's what I wanted to ascertain. You know, I suppose, that 
unless the matter is cleared up, Mrs. Barclay, who is an old friend of 
yours, will in all probability be tried for murder? " 

The man gave a violent start. 

" I don't know who you are," he cried, " nor how you come to 




"mN. henry wood, I BELIEVE?' 

know what \'ou do know ; but will }-ou swear that this is true that 

you tell me ? " 

" W'h}-, the}' arc only waitini:^ for her to ccnne to her senses to 

arrest her." 

" My God ! Are }-ou in the police }-oursclf ? " 

" No." 

" What business is it of \-ours, then ? " 

" It's ever)- man's business to see justice done." 

" You can take my word that she is innocent." 

" Then you are guilt\- ? " 

" No, I am not." 

" Who killed Colonel James Barcla}-, then '^ " 

" It was a just Providence that killed him. Hut mind }X)U this, 
that if I had knocked his brains out, as it was in m}- heart to do, he 
would have had no more than his due from my hands. If his own 
guilty conscience had not struck him down, it is likch' enough that I 
might have had his blood upon my soul. You want me to tell the 


story ? Well, I don't know why I shouldn't, for there's no cause for 
me to be ashamed of it. 

" It was in this way, sir. You see me now with my back like a 
camel and my ribs all awry, but there was a time when Corpc^ral 
Henry Wood was the smartest man in the i 17th Foot. We were in 
India then, in cantonments, at a place we'll call Bhurtee. Barclay, 
who died the other day, was sergeant in the same company as m}-self, 
and the belle of the regiment — aye, and the finest girl that ever liad 
the breath of life between her lips — was Nancy Devo}', the daughter 
of the colour-sergeant. There were two men who loved her, and one 
whom she loved ; and you'll smile \\hen you look at this poor thing 
huddled before the fire, and hear me say that it was for my good 
looks that she loved me. 

" Well, though I had her heart, her fatlier was set upon her 
marr\-ing Barclay. I was a harum-scarum, reckless lad, and he had 
had an education, and was already marked for the sword belt. But 
the girl held true to me, and it seemed that I would have had her, 
when the Mutiny broke out, and all Hell was loose in the country. 

"We were shut up in Bhurtee, the regiment of us, with half a 
battery of artillery, a company of Sikhs, and a lot of civilians and 
women-folk. There were ten thousand rebels round us, and they 
were as keen as a set of terriers round a rat-cage. About the second 
week of it our water gave out, and it was a question whether we could 
communicate with General Neill's column, which was moving up 
country. It was our only chance, for we could not hope to fight our 
way out with all the women and children, so I volunteered to go out 
and warn General Neill of our danger. My offer was accepted, and 
I talked it over with Sergeant Barclay, who was supposed to know 
the ground better than any other man, and who drew up a route by 
which I might get through the rebel lines. At ten o'clock the same 
night I started off upon my journey. There were a thousand lives to 
save, but it A\'as of only one that I was thinking when I dropped 
over the wall that night. 

" My way ran down a dried-up watercourse which we hoped 
would screen me from the enemy's sentries, but as I crept round the 
corner of it T walked right into si.x of them, who were crouching down 
in the dark waiting for me. In an instant I was stunned with a blow, 




and bound hand and foot. But the real blow was to my heart and 
not to my head, for as I came to and listened to as much as I could 
understand of their talk, I heard enough to tell me that my comrade, 
the very man who had arranged the way that I was to take, had 
betrayed me by means of a native servant into the hands of the 

" Well, there's no need for me to dwell on that part of it. You 
know now what James Barclay was capable of Bhurtee was relieved 
by Neill next day, but the rebels took me away with them in their 
retreat, and it was many a long year before ever I saw a white face 
again. I was tortured, and tried to get away, and was captured and 
tortured again. You can see for yourselves the state in which I was 
left. Some of them that fled into Nepaul took me with them, and 
then afterwards I was up past Darjeeling. The hill-folk up there 
murdered the rebels who had me, and I became their slave for a time 
until I escaped, buc instead of going south I had to go north, until I 
found myself among the Afghans. There I wandered about for many 


a year, and at last came back to the Punjab, where I hved mostly 
among the natives, and picked up a living by the conjuring tricks 
that I had learned. What use was it for mc, a wretched cripple, to 
go back to England, or to make myself known to my old comrades? 
Even my wish for revenge would not make mc do that. I had 
rather that Nancy and my old pals should think of Harry Wood as 
having died with a straight back, than see him living and crawling 
with a stick like a chimpanzee. They never doubted that I was dead, 
and I meant that they never should. I heard that Barclay had 
married Nancy, and that he was rising rapidly in the regiment, but 
even that did not make me speak. 

" But when one gets old, one has a longing for home. For years 
I've been dreaming of the bright green fields and the hedges of 
England. At last I determined to see them before I died. I saved 
enough to bring me across, and then I came here where the soldiers 
are, for I know their ways, and how to amuse them, and so earn 
enough to keep mo." 

" Your narrative is most interesting," said Sherlock Holmes. " I 
have already heard of your meeting with Mrs. Barclay and \-our 
mutual recognition. You then, as I understand, followed her home 
and saw through the window an altercation between her husband and 
her, in which she doubtless cast his conduct to you in his teeth. Your 
own feelings overcame you, and you ran across the lawn and broke in 
upon them." 

" I did, sir, and at the sight of me he looked as I have never seen 
a man look before, and over he went with his head on the fender. But 
he was dead before he fell. I read death on his face as plain as I 
can read that text over the fire. The bare sight of me was like a 
bullet through his guilty heart." 

" And then ? " 

"Then Nanc\' fainted, and I caught ui) the ke\- ot the 
floor from her liand, intcndmg to unlock it and get help. But 
as I was doing it it seemed to me better to lea\e it alone 
and get away, for the thing might look black against mc, and 
any way my secret would be out if I were taken. In my haste 
I thrust the key into my pocket, and dropped m)' stick while 
I was chasing Tcdd}', who had run up the curtain. When I got 


him into his box, from which he had sHpped, I was off as fast as 
I could run." 

" Who's Teddy ? " asked Hohnes. 

The man leaned over and pulled up the front of a kind of hutch 
in the corner. In an instant out there slipped a beautiful reddish- 
brown creature, thin and lithe, with the legs of a stoat, a long thin 
nose, and a pair of the finest red e}xs that ever I saw in an animal's 

" It's a mongoose ! " I cried. 

" Well, some call them that, and some call them ichneumon," said 
the man. " Snake-catcher is what I call them, and Teddy is amazing 
quick on cobras. I have one here without the fangs, and Tcdd}' 
catches it ever\' night to please the folk in the canteen. Any other 
point, sir ? " 

" Well, we may have to apply to you again if Mrs. Barclay should 
prove to be in serious trouble." 

" In that case, of course, I'd come forward." 

" But if not, there is no object in raking up this scandal against a 
dead man, foully as he has acted. You have, at least, the satisfaction 
of knowing that for thirty years of his life his conscience bitterly 
reproached him for his wicked deed. Ah, there goes Major Murphy 
on the other side of the street. Good-bye, Wood ; I want to learn if 
an}-thing has happened since yesterda}'." 

We were in time to overtake the Major before he reached the 

" Ah, Holmes," he said, " I suppose you have heard that all this 
fuss has come to nothing ? " 

" What, then ? " 

" The inquest is just over. The medical evidence showed con- 
clusivel}- that death was due to apoplex}-. You see, it was quite a 
simple case after all." 

" Oh, remarkably superficial," said Holmes, smiling. " Come, 
Watson, I don't think we shall be wanted in Aldershot any more." 

" There's one thing," said I, as we walked down to the station ; 
" if the husband's name was James, and the other was Henry, what 
was this talk about David ? " 

" That one word, my dear Watson, should have told me the 





vvnole story had I been the ideal rcasoner which you are so fond of 
depicting. It was evidently a term of reproach." 

" Of reproach ? " 

" Yes, David strayed a little now and then, you know, and on one 
occasion in the same direction as Sergeant James Barclay. You 
remember the small affair of Uriah and Bathsheba ? My Biblical 
knowledge is a trifle rusty, I fear, but you will find the story in the 
first or second of Samuel." 


glancing over the somewhat incoherent series of 
memoirs with which I have endeavoured to illustrate a 
few of the mental peculiarities of m\' friend, Mr. Sherlock 
Holmes, I have been struck by the difficulty which I 
have experienced in picking out examples which shall in 
every way answer ni)- purpose. For in those cases in w hich Holmes 
has performed some tour-dc-forcc of anal\-tical reasoning, and has 
demonstrated the value of his peculiar methods of investigation, the 
facts themselves have often been so slight or so commonplace that I 
could not feel justified in la\ing them before the public. On the 
other hand, it has frequentl}' happened that he has been concerned in 
some research where the facts have been of the most remarkable and 
dramatic character, but where the share which he has himself taken in 
determining their causes has been less pronounced than I, as his 
biographer, could wish. • The small matter which I ha\-e chronicled 
under the heading of " A Study in Scarlet," and that other later one 
connected with the loss of the Gloria Scott, ma}' serve as examples of 
this Scylla and Charybdis which are for ever threatening his historian. 
It may be that, in the business of which I am now about to write, the 
part which m}' friend plaj-ed is not sufficiently accentuated ; and yet 
the whole train of circumstances is so remarkable that I cannot brincr 
myself to omit it entire!}^ from this series. 

It had been a close, rainy day in October. Our blinds were half- 
drawn, and Holmes lay curled upon the sofa, reading and re-reading a 
letter which he had received by the morning post. For myself, my 
term of service in India had trained me to stand heat better than cold, 
and a thermometer of 90 was no hardship. But the paper was unin- 
teresting. Parliament had risen. Everybod}' was out of town, and I 



yearned for the glades of the Xew Forest or the shingle of Southsea. 
A depleted bank account had caused me to postpone ni}- holida)-, and 
as to m)' companion, neither the countr}' nor the sea presented the 
slightest attraction to him. He loved to lie in the ver}' centre of five 
millions of people, with his filaments stretching out and running 
through them, responsi\'e to ever}' little rumour or suspicion of un- 
solved crime. Appreciation of Nature found no place among his 
maiiy gifts, and his only change was when he turned his mind from 
the evil-doer of the town to track down his brother of the country. 

Finding that Holmes was too absorbed for conversation, I had 
tossed aside the barren paper, and, leaning back in m}- chair, I fell 
into a brown stud}^ Suddenl\- m\' companion's voice broke i-n upon 
VAy thoughts. 


" You are right, \\'atson," said he. " It does seem a very pre- 
posterous way of settling a dispute." 

" Most preposterous ! " I exclaimed, and then, suddenl)' realizing 
how he had echoed the inmost thought of m\' soul, I sat up in m\' 
chair and stared at him in blank amazement. 

" What is this, Holmes ? " I cried. " This is be\-ond anj'thing 
which I could have imagined." 


He laughed heartil}- at my perplexit)-. 

" You remember," said he, " that some Httle time ago when I read 
you the passage \\\ one of Poe's sketches, in which a close reasoner 
follows the unspoken thoughts of his companion, )ou were inclined to 
treat the matter as a mere tour-de-force of the author. On m\' 
remarking that I was constantl}- in the habit of doing the same thing 
you expressed incredulit}'." 

" Oh, no ! " 

" Perhaps not with your tongue, my dear Watson, but certainly 
with your e}'ebrows. So when I saw }-ou throw down \-our paper and 
enter upon a train of thought, 1 was \er)' happ\- to have the 
opportunit}' of readhig it off, and e\cntuall3' of breaking into it, as a 
proof that I had been in rapport ^\'ith you." 

But I was still far from satisfied. " In the example which }'ou 
read to me," said I, " the reasoner drew his conclusions from the 
actions of the man whom he obscr\-ed. If I remember right, he 
stumbled over a heap of stones, looked up at the stars, and so on. 
But I have been seated quietl}' in ni}- chair, and what clues can I 
have given }'ou ? " 

" You do yourself an injustice. The features are given to man as 
the means by which he shall express his emotions, and }-ours are 
faithful servants." 

" Do you mean to say that }-ou read my train of thoughts from 
my features ? " 

" Your features, and especial 1}' \'our e}'es. Perhaps }'ou cannot 
yourself recall how your reverie commenced ? " 

" No, I cannot." 

" Then I will tell \-ou. After throwing down }'our paper, which 
was the action which drew m}- attention to )-ou, }-ou sat for half a 
minute with a vacant expression. Then }'our e)'es fixed themselves 
upon your newl}'-framed picture of General Gordon, and I saw b)- the 
alteration in your face that a train of thought had been started. But 
it did not lead very far. Your eyes turned across to the unframed por- 
trait of Henry Ward Beecher which stands upon the top of }'our books. 
You then glanced up at the wall, and of course }'our meaning was 
obvious. You were thinking that if the pc rtrait were framed, it would just 
cover that bare space and correspond with Gordon's picture over there." 


" You have followed ine wonderfully ! " I exclaimed. 

"So far I could hardl)- have gone astra)'. But now your 
thoughts went back to. Beecher, and \'ou looked hard across as 
if }'ou were stud\ing the character in his features. Then )-our 
eyes ceased to pucker, but you continued to look across, and )'our 
face was thoughtful. You were recalling the incidents of Beecher's 
career. I was well aware that )-ou could not do this without thinking 
of the mission which he undertook on behalf of the North at the 
time of the Civil War, for I remember you expressing your 
passionate indignation at the way in which he was received by the 
more turbulent of our people. You felt so strongly about it, that 
I knew you could not think of Beecher without thinking of that 
also. When a moment later I saw your eyes wander away from 
the picture, I suspected that your mind had now turned to the 
Ci\'il War, and when I observed that your lips set, your eyes 
sparkled, and your hands clenched, I was positive that }^ou were 
indeed thinking of the gallantry which was shown by both sides in 
that desperate struggle. But then, again, your face grew sadder ; you 
shook your head. You were dwelling upon the sadness and horror 
and useless waste of life. Your hand stole towards j-our own old 
wound and a smile quivered on your lips, which showed mc that the 
ridiculous side of this method of settling international questions had 
forced itself upon your mind. At this point I agreed with you that it 
was preposterous, and was glad to find that all my deductions had 
been correct." 

" Absolutely ! " said I. " And now that }'ou have explained it, 
I confess that I am as amazed as before." 

" It was very superficial, my dear Watson, I assure you. . I should 
not have intruded it upon your attention had you not shown some 
incredulity the other day. But the evening has brought a breeze 
with it. What do you say to a ramble through London ? " 

I was weary of our little sitting-room, and gladly acquiesced. 
For three hours we strolled about together, watching the ever- 
changing kaleidoscope of life as it ebbs and flows through Fleet 
Street and the Strand. Holmes's characteristic talk, with its keen 
ob.servance of detail and subtle power of inference, held me amused 
and enthralled. 




It was ten o'clock before we reached Baker Street again. A 
brougham was waiting at our door. 

" Hum ! A doctor's — general practitioner, I perceive," said 
Holmes. " Not been long in practice, but has had a good deal to do. 
Come to consult us, I fancy ! Luck}- we came back ! " 

I was sufficiently conversant with Holmes's methods to be able to 
follow his reasoning, and to see that the nature and state of the \'arious 
medical instruments in the wicker basket which hung in the lamp-light 
inside the brougham had given him the data for his swift deduction. 
The light in our window above showed that this late visit was indeed 


intended for us. With some curiosity as to what could have sent a 
brother medico to us at such an hour, I followed Holmes into our 

A pale, taper-faced man with sand)' whiskers rose up from 
a chair b}' the fire as we entered. His age may not ha\e been 
more than three or four and thirt)', but his haggard expression 
and unhealth}' hue told of a life which had sapped his strength 
and robbed him of his )'outh. His manner was nervous and 
shy, like that of a .sensitive gentleman, and the thin white 
hand which he laid on the mantelpiece as he rose was that of 
an artist rather than of a surgeon. His dress was quiet and 
sombre, a black frock-coat, dark trousers, and a touch of colour 
about his necktie. 

" Good e\cning, Doctor," said Holmes, checril}- ; " I am glad to 
see that )'ou have only been waiting a very few minutes." 

" You spoke to my coachman, then ? " 

" No, it was the candle on the side-table that told me. Pra)^ 
resume )'Our seat and let me know how I can serve }-ou." 

" M)' name is Doctor Percy Trevel)'an," said our \isitor, "and I 
live at 403, Brook Street." 

" Are )'ou not the author of a monograph upon obscure nervous 
lesions ? " I asked. 

His pale cheeks flushed with pleasure at hearing that his work 
was known to me. 

" I so seldom hear of the work that I thought it was quite dead," 
said he. " My publishers give me a most discouraging account of its 
sale. You are )'ourself, I presume, a medical man ? " 

" A retired Army surgeon." 

" My own hobby has always been nervous disease. I should wish 
to make it an absolute specialty, but, of course, a man must take what 
he can get at first. This, however, is beside the question, Mr. Sherlock 
Holmes, and I quite appreciate how valuable your time is. The fact 
is that a very singular train of events has occurred recentl}- at m\' 
house in Brook Street, and to-night they came to such a head that 
I felt it was quite impossible for me to wait another hour before asking 
for )-our advice and assistance." 

Sherlock Holmes sat down and lit his pipe. " You arc \er)- welcome 


to both," said he. " Prav let me have a detailed account of what the 
circumstances arc which have disturbed \-ou.'" 

"One or two of them are so trixial," said Dr. Trevelyan, '* that 
reallv I am almost ashamed to mention them. But the matter is so 
inexplicable, and the recent turn which it has taken is so elaborate, 
that I shall lay it all before \'ou, and \'ou shall judge what is essential 
and what is not. 

"I am compelled, to begin with, to say ;onething of my own 
college career. I am a London Universit)- man, 3-ou know, and I am 
sure )'ou will not think that I am unduly singing my own praises if I 
say that m\- student career was considered by my professors to be a 
very promising one. After I had graduated I continued to devote 
myself to research, occupying a minor position in Knig's College 
Hospital, and I was fortunate enough to excite considerable interest 
by my research into the pathology of catalepsy, and finally to win 
the Bruce Pinkerton prize and medal by the monograph on nervous 
lesions to which your friend has just alluded. I should not go too far 
if I were to sa}- that there was a general impression at that time that 
a distinguished career lay before me. 

" But the one great stumbling-block la}' in m}- want of capital. 
As you will rcadih' understand, a specialist who aims high is com- 
pelled to start in one of a dozen streets in the Cavendish Square 
quarter, all of which entail enormous rents and furnishing expenses. 
Besides this preliminary outla\', he must be prepared to keep himself 
for some years, and to hire a presentable carriage and horse. To do 
this was cjuite beyond my power, and I could only hope that by 
econom}' I might in ten years' time save enough to enable me to put 
up my plate. Suddenh', however, an unexpected incident opened up 
quite a new prospect to me. 

" This was a visit from a gentleman of the name of l^lessington, 
who was a complete stranger to me. He came up into my room one 
morning, and plunged into business in an instant. 

" ' You are the same Percy Trevelyan who has had so distinguished 
a career and won a great prize lately ? ' said he. I bowed. 

" ' Answer me frankly,' he continued, ' for you will find it to your 
interest to do so. You have all the cleverness which makes a 
successful man. Have you the tact? ' 



" I could not help smiling at the abruptness of the question. 

" ' I trust that I have my share,' I said. 

" ' Any bad habits ? Not drawn towards drink, eh ? ' 

" ' Really, sir ! ' I cried. 

" ' Quite right ! That's all right ! But I was bound to ask. 
With all these qualities why are you not in practice?' 

" I shrugged m}' shoulders. 

" ' Come, come ! ' said he, in his bustling wa)'. ' It's the old story. 
More in your brains than in your pocket, eh ? What would you say 
if I were to start you in Brook Street ? ' 

" I stared at him in astonishment. 


"' Oh, it's for my sake, not for yours,' he cried. ' I'll be perfectly 
frank with you, and if it suits \-ou it will suit me very well. I ha\-e a 
few thousands to invest, d')'e see, and I think I'll sink them in yon! 


" ' But why ? ' I gasped. 

'"Well, it's just like any other speculation, and safer than most.' 

" ' What am I to do, then ? ' 

" ' I'll tell you. I'll take the house, furnish it, pay the maids, and 
run the whole place. All you have to do is just to wear out yom- 
chair in the consulting-room. I'll let you have pocket-money and 
ever)'thing. Then you hand oxer to me three-quarters of what you 
earn and you keep the other quarter for yourself 

" This was the strange proposal, Mr. Holmes, with which the man 
Blessington approached me. I won't weary you with the account of 
how we bargained and negotiated. It ended in my moving into the 
house next Lady Day, and starting in practice on very much the same 
conditions as he had suggested. He came himself to live with me in 
the character of a resident patient. His heart was weak, it appears, 
and he needed constant medical supervision. He turned the two best 
rooms on the first floor into a sitting-room and bedroom for himself 
He was a man of singular habits, shunning company and very seldom 
going out. His life was irregular, but in one respect he was regularity 
itself. Every evening at the same hour he walked into the consulting- 
room, examined the books, put down five and threepence for every 
guinea that I had earned, and carried the rest off to the strong box in 
his own room. 

" I may say with confidence that he never had occasion to regret 
his speculation. From the first it was a success. A few good cases 
and the reputation which I had won in the hospital brought me 
rapidly to the front, and during the last year or two I have made him 
a rich man. 

" So much, Vlx. Holmes, for my past history and my relations 
with Mr. Blessington. It onh' remains for me now to tell you what 
has occurred to bring me here to-night. 

" Some weeks ago Pvlr. Blessington came down to me in, as it 
seemed to me, a state of considerable agitation. He spoke of some 
burglary which, he said, had been committed in the West-end, and 
he appeared, I remem.ber. to be quite unnecessarily excited about 
it, declaring that a day should not pass before we should add 
stronger bolts to our windows and doors. For a week he continued 
to be in a peculiar state of restlessness, peering continually 


out of the windows, and ceasing to take the short walk which had 
usually been the prelude to his dinner. From his manner it struck 
me that he \Aas in mortal dread of something or somebod)-, but 
wiien I cjuestioned him upon the point he became so offensive that 
I was compelled to drop the subject. Gradually as time passed his 
fears appeared to die away, and he had renewed his former habits, 
when a fresh event reduced him to the pitiable state of prostra- 
tion in which he now lies. 

" What happened was this. Two days ago I received the 
letter which I now read to you. Neither address nor date is 
attached to it. 

" ' A Russian nobleman who is now resident in England,' it runs, 
' would be glad to avail himself of the professional assistance of Dr. 
Percy Trevelyan. He has been for some years a victim to cataleptic 
attacks, on which, as is well known, Dr. Trevelyan is an authority. 
He proposes to call at about a quarter-past six to-morrow evening, if 
Dr. Trevelyan will make it convenient to be at home.' 

" This letter interested me deeply, because the chief difficulty in 
the study of catalepsy is the rareness of the You may 
believe, then, that I was in m}- consulting-room when, at the appointed 
hour, the page showed in the patient. 

" He was an elderly man, thin, demure, and commonplace — by 
no means the conception one forms of a Russian nobleman. I was 
inuch more struck by the appearance of his companion. This was a 
tall young man, surprisingly handsome, with a dark, fierce face, and 
the limbs and chest of a Hercules. He had his hand under the other's 
arm as they entered, and helped him to a chair with a tenderness 
which one would hardly have expected from his appearance. 

"'You will excuse my coming in. Doctor,' said he to me, speaking 
English with a slight lisp. 'This is my father, and his health is a 
matter of the most overwhehning importance to me.' 

" I was touched by this filial anxiet}'. ' You would, perhaps, 
care to remain during the consultation?' .said I. 

"'Not for the world,' he cried, with a gesture of horror. 'It is 
more painful to me than I can express. If I were to see nu' father 
in one of those dreadful sei/.ures, I am convinced that I should nc\-er 
survive it. My own nervous system is an exceptionally sensitive one. 






With }'Our ])crmission I will remain in the waiting-room while you go 
into my father's case.' 

" To this, of course, I assented, and the young man withdrew. 
The patient and I then plunged into a discussion of his case, of which 
I took exhaustive notes. He was not remarkable for intelligence, and 
his answers were frequently obscure, which I attributed to his limited 
acquaintance with our language. Suddenh', however, as I sat writing 
he ceased to give any answer at all to my inquiries, and on my turn- 
ing towards him I was shocked to see that he was sitting bolt upright 
in his chair, staring at me with a perfectly blank and rigid face. He 
was again in the grip of his mysterious malad}-. 

" My first feeling, as I have just said, was one of pity and horror. 
My second, I fear, was rather one of professional satisfaction. I made 
notes of my patient's pulse and temperature, tested the rigidity of his 


muscles, and examined his reflexes. There was nothing markedly 
abnormal in any of these conditions, which harmonized with my former 
experiences. I had obtained good results in such cases by the 
inhalation of nitrite of amyl, and the present seemed an admirable 
opportunity of testing its virtues. The bottle was downstairs in my 
laboratory, so, leaving my patient seated in his chair, I ran down to 
get it. There was some little delay in finding it — five minutes, let 
us say — and then I returned. Imagine my amazement to find the 
room empty and the patient gone ! 

" Of course, my first act was to run into the waiting-room. The 
son had gone also. The hall door had been closed, but not shut. My 
page who admits patients is a new boy, and by no means quick. He 
waits downstairs, and runs up to show patients out when I ring the 
consulting-room bell. He had heard nothing, and the affair remained 
a complete mystery. Mr. Blessington came in from his walk shortly 
afterwards, but I did not say anything to him upon the subject, for 
to tell the truth, I have got in the wav of late of holding as little 
communication with him as possible. 

" Well, I never thought that I should see anything more of the 
Russian and his son, so you can imagine my amazement when at the 
very same hour this evening they both came marching into my con- 
sulting-room, just as they had done before. 

" ' I feel that I owe you a great many apologies for my abrupt 
departure yesterday, Doctor,' said my patient. 

" ' I confess that I was very much surprised at it,' said I. 

" ' Well, the fact is,' he remarked, ' that when I recover from these 
attacks my mind is always very clouded as to all that has gone before. 
I woke up in a strange room, as it seemed to me, and made my wa}^ 
out into the street in a sort of dazed way when you were absent.' 

"'And I,' said the son, ' seeing my father pass the door of the 
waiting-room, naturally thought that the consultation had come to 
an end. It was not until we had reached home that I began to realize 
the true state of affairs.' 

"'Well,' said I, laughing, ' there is no harm done, except that 
you puzzled me terribly ; so if you, sir, would kindly step into the 
waiting-room, I shall be happy to continue our consultation, which 
was brought to so abrupt an ending.' 



" For half an hour or so I discussed the old gentleman's symptoms 
with him, and then, having prescribed for him, I saw him go off on 
the arm of his son. 

" I have told you that Mr. Blessington generally chose this hour 
of the day for his exercise. He came in shortly afterwards and passed 
upstairs. An instant later I heard him running down, and he burst 
into my consulting-room like a man who is mad with panic. 


" ' Who has been in my room ? ' he cried. 

"' No one,' said I. 

" ' It's a lie ! ' he yelled. ' Come up and look.' 

" I passed over the grossness of his language, as he seemed half 
out of his mind with fear. When I went upstairs with him he pointed 
to several footprints upon the light carpet. 

" D'you mean to say those are mine ? ' he cried. 

" They were certainly very much larger than any which he could 
have made, and were evidently quite fresh. It rained hard this after- 
noon, as you know, and my patients were the only people who called. 
It must have been the case, then, that the man in the waiting-room 


had for some unknown reason, while I was busy with the other 
ascended to the room of my resident patient. Nothing had been 
touched or taken, but there were the footprints to prove that the 
intrusion was an undoubted fact. 

" Mr. Blessington seemed more excited over the matter than I 
should have thought possible, though, of course, it was enough to 
disturb an}'body's peace of mind. He actually sat crying in an arm- 
chair, and I could hardly get him to speak coherently. It was his 
suggestion that I should come round to you, and of course I at once 
saw the propriety of it, for certainly the incident is a very singular 
one, though he appears to completely overrate its importance. If you 
would only come back with me in my brougham, you would at least 
be able to soothe him, though I can hardly hope that }'ou will be able 
to explain this remarkable occurrence." 

Sherlock Holmes had listened to this long narrative with an 
intentness which showed me that his interest was keenly aroused. 
His face was as impassive as ever, but his lids had drooped more 
heavily over his eyes, and his smoke had curled up more thickly from 
his pipe to emphasize each curious episode in the doctor's tale. As 
our visitor concluded Holmes sprang up without a word, handed me 
my hat, picked up his own from the table, and followed Dr. Trevelyan 
to the door. Within a quarter of an hour we had been dropped at 
the door of the physician's residence in Brook Street, one of those 
sombre, flat-faced houses which one associates with a West-end 
practice. A small page admitted us, and wc began at once to ascend 
the broad, well-carpeted stair. 

But a singular interruption brought us to a standstill. The light 
at the top was suddenly whisked out, and from the darkness came a 
reedy, quavering voice. 

" I have a pistol," it cried ; " I give you m}' word that I'll fire if 
you come any nearer." 

" This really grows outrageous, Mr. Blessington," cried Dr. 

" Oh, then it is you. Doctor ? " said the voice, with a great heave 
of relief " But those other gentlemen, are they what they pretend 
to be ? " 

We were conscious of a long scrutin\' out of the darkness. 



" Yes, yes, it's all right," said the voice at last. " You can come 
up, and I am sorry if my precautions have annoyed you." 

He re-lit the stair gas as he spoke, and we saw before us a 
singular-looking man, whose appearance, as well as his voice, testified 
to his jangled nerves. He was very fat, but had apparently at some 
time been much fatter, so that the skin hung about his face in loose 
pouches, like the cheeks of a bloodhound. He was of a sickly colour, 
and his thin sandy hair seemed to bristle up with the intensity of his 
emotion. In his hand he held a pistol, but he thrust it into his pocket 
as we advanced. 


" Good evening, Mr. Holmes," said he ; " I am sure I am very 
much obliged to you for coming round. No one ever needed your 
advice more than I do. I suppose that Dr. Trevelyan has told you of 
this most unwarrantable intrusion into mv rooms ? " 

" Quite so," said Holmes. " Who are these two men, Mr. 
Blessington, and why do they wish to molest you ? " 

"Well, well," said the resident patient, in a nervous fashion, "of 


course, it is hard to say that. You can hardly expect me to answer 
that, Mr. Holmes." 

" Do you mean that you don't know ? " 

" Come in here, if you please. Just have the kindness to step in 

He led the way into his bedroom, which was large and comfort- 
ably furnished. 

" You see that ? " said he, pointing to a big black box at the end 
of his bed. " I have never been a very rich man, Mr. Holmes — never 
made but one investment in my life, as Dr. Trevelyan would tell you. 
But I don't believe in bankers. I would never trust a banker, Mr. 
Holmes. Between ourselves, what little I have is in that box, so you 
can understand what it means to me when unknown people force 
themselves into my rooms." 

Holmes looked at Blessington in his questioning way, and shook 
his head. 

" I cannot possibly advise you if you try to deceive me," said he. 

" But I have told you everything." 

Holmes turned on his heel with a gesture of disgust. " Good- 
night, Dr. Trevelyan," said he. 

" And no advice for me ? " cried Blessington, in a breaking voice. 

" My advice to you, sir, is to speak the truth." 

A minute later we were in the street and walking for home. 
We had crossed Oxford Street, and were half-way down Harley 
Street before I could get a word from my companion. 

" Sorry to bring you out on such a fool's errand, 
Watson," he said at last. "It is an interesting case, too, at the 
bottom of it." 

" I can make little of it," I confessed. 

" Well, it is quite evident that there are two men — more, perhapy, 
but at least two — who are determined for some reason to get at this 
fellow Blessington. I have no doubt in my mind that both on the 
first and on the second occasion that young man penetrated to 
Blessington's room, w^hile his confederate, by an ingenious device, kept 
the doctor from interfering." 

" And the catalepsy ! " 

" A fraudulent imitation, Watson, though I should hardly dare to 


hint as much to our speciah'st. It is a very easy complaint to imitate. 
I have done it myself." 

" And then ? " 

" By the purest chance Blessington was out- on each occasion. 
Their reason for choosing so unusual an hour for a consultation 
was obviously to insure that there should be no other patient in 
the waiting-room. It just happened, however, that this hour 
coincided with Blessington's constitutional, which seems to show that 
they were not very well acquainted with his daily routine. Of course, 
if they had been merely after plunder they would at least have 
made some attempt to search for it. Besides, I can read in a 
man's eye when it is his own skin that he is frightened for. It is 
inconceivable that this fellow could have made two such vindictive 
enemies as these appear to be without knowing of it. I hold it, there- 
fore, to be certain that he does know who these men are, and that 
for reasons of his own he suppresses it. It is just possible that to- 
morrow may find him in a more communicative mood." 

"Is there not one alternative," I suggested, " grotesquely impro- 
bable, no doubt, but still just conceivable ? Might the whole stor)' 
of the cataleptic Russian and his son be a concoction of Dr. 
Trevelyan's, who has, for his o\\-n purposes, been in Blessington's 
rooms ? " 

I saw in the gaslight that Holmes wore an amused smile at this 
brilliant departure of mine. 

" My dear fellow," said he, " it was one of the first solutions which 
occurred to me, but I was soon able to corroborate the doctor's tale. 
This young man has left p-rints upon the stair carpet which made it 
quite superfluous for me to ask to see those which he had made in the 
room. When I tell you that his shoes were square-toed, instead of 
being pointed like Blessington's, and were quite an inch and a third 
longer than the doctor's, you will acknowledge that there can be no 
doubt as to his individuality. But we may sleep on it now, for I 
shall be surprised if we do not hear something further from Brook 
Street in the morning." 

Sherlock Holmes's prophecy was soon fulfilled, and in a dramatic 
fashion. At half-past seven next morning, in the first dim glimmer of 
daylight, I found him standing b}- my bedside in his dressing-gown. 


" There's a brougham waiting for us, Watson," said he. 

" What's the matter, then ? " 

" The Brook Street business." 

" Any fresh news ? " 

" Tragic, but ambiguous," said he, pulHng up the bHnd. " Look 
at this — a sheet from a notebook with ' For God's sake, come at 
once — P.T.' scrawled upon it in pencil. Our friend the doctor was 
hard put to it when he wrote this. Come along, my dear fellow, for 
it's an urgent call." 

In a quarter of an hour or so we were back at the physician's 
house. He came running out to meet us with a face of horror. 

" Oh, such a business ! " he cried, with his hands to his temples. 

" What, then ? " 

" Blessington has committed suicide ! " 

Holmes whistled. 

" Yes, he hanged himscK during the night." 

We had entered, and the doctor had preceded us iiito what was 
evidently his waiting-room. 

" I reall}' hardly know what I am doing," he cried. " The police 
are already upstairs. It has shaken me most dreadfull)'." 

" When did you find it out ? " 

" He has a cup of tea taken in to him early ever}' morning. 
When the maid entered about se\'en, there the unfortunate fellow was 
hanging in the m.iddle of the room. He had tied his cord to the 
hook on v/hich the heav\' lamp used to hang, and he had jumped off 
from the top of the ver)' box that he showed us j^esterda)'." 

Holmes stood for a moment in deep thought. 

" W^ith your permission," said he at last, " I should like to go 
upstairs and look into the matter." W^e both ascended, followed b}- 
the doctor. 

It was a dreadful sight which met us as we entered the bedroom 
door. I have spoken of the impression of fiabbiness which this man 
Blessington conveyed. As he dangled from the hook it was ex- 
aggerated and intensified until he was scarce human in his appear- 
ance. The neck was drawn out like a plucked chicken's, making the 
rest of him seem the m^re obese and unnatural by the contrast. He 
was clad onl)- in his long night-dress, and his swollen ankles and un- 


gainly feet protruded starkly from beneath it. Beside him stood a 
smart-looking police inspector, who was taking notes in a pocket- 

" Ah, Mr. Holmes," said he, heartily, as my friend entered. " I 
am delighted to see you." 

" Good morning, Lanner," answered Holmes. " Vou won't think 
me an intruder, I am sure. Have you heard of the events which led 
up to this affair ? " 

" Yes, I heard something of them." 

" Have you formed any opinion ? " 

" As far as I can see, the man has been driven out of his senses 
by fright. The bed has been well slept in, you see. There's his 
impression deep enough. It's about fi\-e in the morning, )-ou know, 
that suicides are most common. That would be about his time for 
hanging himself It seems to have been a very deliberate affair." 

" I should say that he has been dead about three hours, judging 
b}' the rigidity of the muscles," said I. 

" Noticed anything peculiar about the room ? " asked Holmes. 

" Found a screwdriver and some screws on the wash-hand 
stand. Seems to have smoked heavil}' during the night, too. Here 
are four cigar ends that I picked out of the fireplace." 

" Hum ! " said Holmes. " Have )'ou got his cigar-holder ? " 

" No, I have seen none." 

" His cigar-case, then ? " 

" Yes, it was in his coat pocket." 

Holmes opened it and smelled the single cigar which it contained. 

" Oh, this is a Havana, and these others are cigars of the peculiar 
sort which are imported by the Dutch from their East Indian colonies. 
They are usually wrapped in straw, }'ou know, and are thinner for 
their length than any other brand." He picked up the four ends and 
examined them with his pocket lens. 

" Two of these have been smoked from a holder and two without," 
said he. ' Two have been cut by a not very sharp knife, and two 
have had the ends bitten off by a set of excellent teeth. This is no 
suicide, Mr. Lanner. It is a ver}- dceph'-planned and cold-blooded 

" Impossible ! " cried the inspector. 



" And why ? " 

" Why should anyone 
murder a man in so clumsy a 
fashion as by hanging him ? " 

" That is what we have 
to find out." 

" How could they get 
in ? " 

"Through the front door." 

"It was barred in the 



fH 5^' ' 

" Then it was barred 
after them." 

" How do you know ? " 
" I saw their traces. 
Excuse me a moment, and 
I may be able to give you 
some further information 
about it." 

He went o\'er to the 
door, and turning the lock 
he examined it in his metho- 
dical fashion. Then he took 
out the key, which was on 
the inside, and inspected that 
also. The bed, the carpet, the 
chairs, the mantelpiece, the dead body, and the rope were each in turn 
examined, until at last he professed himself satisfied, and with my aid 
and that of the inspector cut down the wretched object, and laid it 
reverently under a sheet. 

" How about this rope ? " he asked. 

" It is cut off this," said Dr. Trevelyan, drawing a large coil 
from under the bed. " He was morbidly nervous of fire, and always 
kept this beside him, so that he might escape by the window in case 
the stairs were burning." 

" That must have saved them trouble," said Holmes, thoughtfully. 
" Yes, the actual facts are very plain, and I shall be surprised if by 

"holmes opened it and smelled the single 
cigar which it contained." 


the afternoon I cannot give you the reasons for them as well. I will 
take this photograph of Blessington which I see upon the mantel- 
piece, as it may help me in my inquiries." 

" But you have told us nothing," cried the doctor. 

" Oh, there can be no doubt as to the sequence of events," said 
Holmes. " There were three of them in it : the young man, the old 
man, and a third to whose identity I have no clue. The first two, I 
need hardly remark, are the same who masqueraded as the Russian 
Count and his son, so we can give a very full description of them. 
They were admitted by a confederate inside the house. If I might 
offer you a word of advice, Inspector, it would be to arrest the page, 
who, as I understand, has onl)^ recently come into your service. 

" The young imp cannot be found," said Dr. Trevelyan ; " the 
maid and the cook have just been searching for him." 

Holmes shrugged his shoulders. 

" He has played a not unimportant part in this drama," said he. 
" The three men having ascended the stair, which they did on tiptoe, the 
elder man first, the younger man second, and the unknown man in the 
rear " 

" My dear Holmes ! " I ejaculated. 

" Oh, there could be no question as to the superimposing of the 
footmarks. I had the advantage of learning which was which last 
night. They ascended then to Mr. Blessington's room, the door of 
which they found to be locked. With the help of a wire, however, 
they forced round the ke}-. Even without the lens, you will perceive, 
by the scratches on this ward, where the pressure was applied. 

" On entering the room, their first proceeding must have been to 
gag Mr. Blessington. He may have been asleep, or he may have 
been so paralyzed with terror as to have been unable to cry out. 
These walls are thick, and it is conceivable that his shriek, if he had 
time to utter one, was unheard. 

" Having secured him, it is evident to me that a consultation 
of some sort was held. Probably it was something in the nature of a 
judicial proceeding. It must have lasted for some time, for it was 
then that these cigars were smoked. The older man sat in that 
wicker chair : it was he who used the cigar-holder. The younger 


man sat over yonder : he knocked his ash off against the chest of 
drawers. The third fellow paced up and down. Blessington, I 
think, sat upright in the bed, but of that I cannot be absolutely 

" Well, it ended by their taking Blessington and hanging him. 
The matter was so pre-arranged that it is m\' belief that the}' brought 
with them some sort of block or pulley which might serve as a gallows. 
That screwdriver and those screws were, as I conceive, for fixing it up. 
Seeing the hook, however, they naturall}- saved themselves the trouble. 
Having finished their work the)- made off, and the door was barred 
behind them b}"- their confederate." 

We had all listened with the deepest interest to this sketch of the 
night's doings, which Holmes had deduced from signs so subtle and 
minute, that even when he had pointed them out to us, wc could 
scarcel}' follow him in his reasonings. The inspector hurried awa}- on 
the instant to make inquiries about the page, while Holmes and I 
returned to Raker Street for breakfast. 

" I'll be back b\- three," said he when \\c had finished our meal. 
" Both the inspector and the doctor will meet me here at that hour, 
and I hope b}- that time to have cleared up any little obscurit\' which 
the case ma}- still present." 

Our visitors arrived at the appointed time, but it was a quarter to 
four before m)' friend put in an appearance. From his expression as 
he entered, however, I could sec that all had gone well with him. 

" Any news. Inspector ? " 

" We have got the bo\-, sir." 

" Excellent, and I have got the men." 

" You have got them ! " we cried all three. 

"Well, at least I have got their idcntit}-. This so-called 
Blessington is, as I expected, well known at headquarters, and so are 
his assailant.s. Their names are Biddle, Ha\-ward, and Moffat." 

" The Worthingdon bank gang," cried the in.spector 

" Precisely," said Holmes. 

"Then Blessington must have been Sutton?" 

" Exactl\'," said Holmes. 

" Why, that makes it as clear as crystal," said the inspector. 

But Trevelyan and I looked at each other in bcnvilderment. 




" You must sure!}' remember the great Worthingdon bank busi- 
ness," said Holmes ; " five men were in it, these four and a fifth called 
Cartwright. Tobin, the caretaker, was murdered, and the thieves got 
away with seven thousand pounds. This was in 1875. They were 
all five arrested, but the evidence against them was by no means con- 
clusive. This Blessington, or Sutton, who was the worst of the gang, 
turned informer. On his evidence, Cartwright was hanged and the 
other three got fifteen years apiece. When they got out the other 
day, which was some years before their full term, they set themselves, 
as you perceive, to hunt down the traitor and to avenge the death of 
their comrade upon him. Twice they tried to get at him and failed : 
a third time, you see, it came off. Is there anything further which I 
can explain, Dr Treveh-an ? " 

" I think }'ou have made it all remarkably clear," said the docton 


" No doubt the day on which he was so perturbed was the day when 
he had read of their release in the newspapers." 

" Quite so. His talk about a burglary was the merest blind. 

" But why could he not tell you this ? " 

" Well, my dear sir, knowing the vindictive character of his old 
associates, he was trying to hide his own identity from everybody as 
long as he could. His secret was a shameful one, and he could not 
bring himself to divulge it. However, wretch as he was, he was still 
living under the shield of British law, and I have no doubt, Inspector, 
that you will see that, though that shield may fail to guard, the sword 
of justice is still there to avenge." 

Such were the singular circumstances in connection with the 
resident patient and the Brook Street doctor. From that night 
nothing has been seen of the three murderers by the police, and 
it is surmised at Scotland Yard that they were among the passengers 
of the ill-fated steamer Norah Creina, which was lost some years ago 
with all hands upon the Portuguese coast, some leagues to the north 
of Oporto. The proceedings against the page broke down for want of 
evidence, and the " Brook Street Mystery," as it was called, has never. 
until now, been fully dealt with in any public print. 


URING my long and intimate acquaintance with Mr. 
Sherlock Holmes I had never heard him refer to his 
relations, and hardly ever to his own early life. This 
reticence upon his part had increased the somewhat 
inhuman effect which he produced upon me, until some- 
times I found myself regarding him as an isolated phenomenon, a 
brain without a lieart, as deficient in human sympathy as he was pre- 
eminent in intelligence. His aversion to women, and his disinclinatic n 
to form new friendships, were both typical of his unemotional character, 
but not more so than his complete suppression of every reference to 
his own people. I had come to believe that he was an orphan with no 
relatives living, but one day, to my very great surprise, he began to 
talk to me about his brother 

It was after tea on a summer evening, and the conversation, 
which had roamed in a desultory, spasmodic fashion from golf clubs 
to the causes of the change in the obliquity of the ecliptic, came round 
at last to the question of atavism and hereditary aptitudes. The 
point under discussion was how far any singular gift in an individual 
was due to his ancestry, and how far to his own early training. 

" In your own case," said I, " from all that you have told me it 
seems obvious that your faculty of observation and your peculiar 
facility for deduction are due to your own systematic training." 

" To some extent," he answered, thoughtfully. " My ancestors 
were country squires, who appear to have led much the same life as 
is natural to their class. But, none the less, my turn that way is in 
my veins, and may have come with my grandmother, who was the 
sister of Vernet, the French artist. Art in the blood is liable to take 
the strangest forms." 


" But how do you know that it is hereditary ? " 

" Because my brother Mycroft possesses it in a larger degree 
than I do." 

This was news to me, indeed. If there were another man with such 
singular powers in England, how was it that neither police nor public 
had heard of him ? I put the question, w ith a hint that it was my 
companion's modesty which made him acknowledge his brother as his 
superior. Holmes laughed at my suggestion. 

" My dear Watson," said he, " I cannot agree with those who rank 
modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be 
seen exactly as they are, and to under-estimate oneself is as much a 
departure from truth as to exaggerate one's own powers. When I 
say, therefore, that Mycroft has better powers of observation than I, 
you may take it that I am speaking the exact and literal truth." 

" Is he your junior? " 

" Seven years my senior." 

" How comes it that he is unknown ? " 

" Oh, he is very well known in his own circle." 

" Where, then ? " 

" Well, in the Diogenes Club, for example." 

I had never heard of the institution, and my face must have 
proclaimed as much, for .Sherlock Holmes pulled out his watch. 

" The Diogenes Club is the queerest club in London, and 
M)xroft, one of the queerest men. He's alwa\'s there from a cjuarter 
to five till twcnt)' to eight. It's si.x now, so if )-ou care for a stroll 
this beautiful evening I shall be very happy to introduce \'ou to two 

Fi\'e minutes later we were in the street, walking towards Regent 

"You wonder," .said m}' companion, "why it is that Mycroft does 
not use his powers for detective work. He is incapable of it." 

" But I thought you said ! " 

" I said that he was my superior in observation and deduction. 
If the art of the detective began and ended in reasoning from an 
arm-chair, my brother would be the greatest criminal agent that ever 
lived. But he has no ambition and no cnerg}-. He will not e\en go 
out of his way to verify his own solutions, and would rather be con- 



riULMfcb I'ULLtU OUT Illb \VA ICll. 

sidcicd \\i"i)n_!4 than take the trouble to prove himseU" right. Again 
and again I haxe taken a problem to him. and ha\e received an 
explanation which has afterwards proved to be the correct one. And 
yet he was absolutely incapable of working out the practical points 
which must be gone into before a case could be laid before a judge 
or jury;' 

" It is not his profession, then ? " 

" By no means. What is to me a means of livelihood is to him 
the merest hobby of a dilettante. He has an extraordinary faculty 
for figures, and audits the books in some of the Government depart- 
ments. iNFycroft lodges in Pall Mall, and he walks nnind the corner 

into Whitehall every morning and back every exening. From N'ear's 



end to year's end he takes no other exercise, and is seen nowhere else, 
except only in the Diogenes Club, which is just opposite his rooms." 

" I cannot recall the name." 

" Very likel)Miot. There arc many men in London, you know, 
who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for 
the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable 
chairs and the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these 
that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most 
unsociable and unclubbable men in town. No member is permitted 
to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Strangers' 
Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, permitted, and three 
offences, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker 
liable to expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have 
myself found it a very soothing atmosphere." 

We had reached Pall Mall as we talked, and were walking down 
it from the St. James's end. Sherlock Holmes stopped at a door 
some little distance from the Carlton, and, cautioning me not to speak, 
he led the way into the hall. Through the glass panelling I caught a 
glimpse of a large and luxurious room in which a considerable number 
of men were sitting about and reading papers, each in his own little 
nook. Holmes showed me into a small chamber which looked out on 
to Pall Mall, and then, leaving me for a minute, he came back with a 
companion who I knew could only be his brother. 

Mycroft Holmes was a much larger and stouter man than 
Sherlock. His body was absolutely corpulent, but his face, though 
massive, had preserved something of the sharpness of expression 
which was so remarkable in that of his brother. His eyes, which 
were of a peculiarly light watery grey, seemed to always retain that 
far-awa)% introspective look which I had only observed in Sherlock's 
when he was exerting his full powers. 

" I am glad to meet you, sir," said he, putting out a broad, flat 
hand, like the flipper of a seal. " I hear of Sherlock everywhere 
since you became his chronicler, l^y the way, Sherlock, I expected 
to see you round last week to consult me o\cr that Manor House 
case. I thought you might be a little out (jf }-our depth." 

" No, I solved it," said my friend, smiling. 

" It was Adams, of course ? " 



" Yes, it was Adams." 
" I was sure of it from the 
first." The two sat down to- 
gether in the bow-window of the 
ckib. " To an\onc \\\\o wishes 
to study mankind this is the 
spot," said M)-croft. " Look at 
the magnificent types ! Look at 
these two men who are coming 
towards us, for example." 

" The bilHard - marker and 
the other ? " 

" Precisely. What do you 
make of the other ? " 

The two men had stopped 
opposite the window. Some chalk 
marks over the waistcoat pocket 
were the only signs of billiards 
which I could see in one of them. 
The other was a very small, dark 
fellow, with his hat pushed back 
and several packages under his arm. 

" An old soldier, I j^erceive," 
said Sherlock. 

" And very recently discharged," remarked the brother. 

"Served in India, I see." 

"And a non-commissioned officer." 

" Royal Artiller}', I fanc\^" said Sherlock, 

" And a widower." 

" But with a child." 

" Children, my dear boy, children." 

" Come," said I, laughing, "this is a little too much." 

" Surely," answered Holmes, " it is not hard to say that a man 
with that bearing, expression of authority, and sun-baked skin is a 
soldier, is more than a private, and is not long from India." 

" That he has not left the service long is shown by his still 
wearing his 'ammunition boots,' as the)- arc called," observed Mycroft, 



" He has not the cavahy stride, yet he wore his hat on one side, 
as i's shown by the Hghter skin on that side of his brow. His weight 
is against his being a sapper. He is in the artiller}-." 

"Then, of course, his complete mourning sho\\s that he lias lost 
someone very dear. The fact that he is doing his own shopping 
looks as though it were his wife. He has been bu\ing things for 
children, you [:»crcei\"e. There is a rattle, which shows that one of 
them is very young. The wife probably died in child-bed. The fact 
that he has a picture-book under his arm shows that there is another 
child to be thought of" 

I began to understand what my friend meant when he said that 
his brother possessed e\en keener faculties than he did himself He 
glanced across at me, and smiled. Mycroft took snuff from a tortoise- 
shell box and brushed away the wandering grains from his coat with 
a large, red silk handkerchief 

" By the way, Sherlock," said he, " I have had something quite 
after your own heart — a most singular j^roblem — submitted to my 
judgment. I really had not the energy to follow it up, save in a very 
incomplete fashion, but it gave me a basis for some very pleasing 
speculations. If you would care to hear the facts " 

" My dear Mycroft, I should be delighted." 

The brother scribbled a note upon a leaf of his pocket-book, and, 
ringing the bell, he handed it to the waiter. 

" I have asked Mr. Melas to step across," said he. " He lodges 
on the floor above me, and I have some slight acquaintance with 
him, which led him to come to me in his [:)erp]exit}\ Mr. Melas is 
a Greek by extraction, as I understand, and he is a remarkable 
linguist. He earns his living partly as interpreter in the law courts, 
and partly by acting as guide to any wealthy Orientals who may visit 
the Northumberland Avenue hotels. I think I will leave him to tell 
his own very remarkable experience in his own fashion.' 

A few minutes later we were joined b\- a short, stout man, whose 
olive face and coal-black hair proclaimed his southern origin, though 
his speech was that of an educated l^ngiishman. He shook hands 
eagerly with Sherlock Holmes, and his dark e\'es sparkled with 
pleasure when he understood that the specialist was anxious to hear 
his story. 


" I do not believe that the police credit me — on m}- word I do 
not," said he, in a wailing voice. "Just because they have never heard 
of it before, they think that such a thing cannot be. Rut I know 
that I shall nc\er be easy in m}' mind until I know what has become 
of my poor man with the sticking-plaster upon his face." 

" I am all attention," said Sherlock Holmes. 

"This is W'odnesda)' evening," said Mr. Melas ; "well, then, it 
was on Monda)' night — only two da)s ago, )'ou understand — that all 
this happened. I am an interpreter, as, perhaps, m\' neighbour there 
has told you. I interpret all languages — or nearl\- all — but as I ain a 
Greek by birth, and \\ith a Grecian name, it is with that jjarticular 
tongue that I am principall)- associated, h'or man\' )'ears I have been 
the chief Greek inter])reter in London, and m)' name is ver)- well 
know^n in the hotels. 

"It happens, not unfrequently, that I am sent for at strange hours, 
b)^ foreigners who get into difficulties, or by travellers who arrive late 
and wish my services. I was not surprised, therefore, on Monday night 
\\hcn a Mr. Latimer, a very fashionably-dressed young man, came up 
to ni}' rooms and asked me to accompany him in a cal), which was 
waiting at the door. .\ Greek friend had come to sec him upon 
business, he said, and, as he could speak nothing but his own tongue, 
the services of an interpreter were indispensable. He ga\'e me to 
imderstand that his house was some little distance ofC in Kensington, 
and he seemed to be in a great hurr\', bustling me rapidly into the 
cab when we had descended into the street. 

" I say into the cab, but I soon became doubtful as to wliether 
it was not a carriage in which I found m}'self It was certainly more 
roomy than the ordinary four-wheeled disgrace to London, and the 
fittings, though frayed, were of rich qualit}^ Mr. Latimer seated 
himself opposite to me, and we started off through Charing Cross 
and up the Shaftesbury Avenue. We had come out upon O.xford 
Street, and I had ventured some remark as to this being a roundabout 
way to Kensington, when ni)- words were arrested b)- the e.xtraordinar)- 
conduct of my companion. 

" He began by drawing a most formidable-looking bludgeon 
loaded with lead from his pocket, and switched it backwards and 
forwards several times, as if to test its weight and strength. Then 



he placed it, without a word, upon the scat beside liim. Ilaxiug dcue 
this, he drew up tlic windows on each side, and I f(jimd to m\- 
astonishment that the}- were covered w ith paper so as to pre\ent iti\- 
seeing through them. 


" ' 1 am sorr}- to cut off }-our \iew, Mr. Melas,' said he. ' The fact 
is tliat 1 ha\e no intention that you should see what the place is to 
which we are driving. It might possibly be inconvenient to me if 
you could find }our wa}' there again.' 

" As )T)U can imagine, I was utterl}- taken aback b}' such an 
address. M)' companion was a powerful, broad-shouldered young 
fellow, and, apart from the weapon, I should not ha\e had the slightest 
chance in a struggle with him. 

" ' This is ver}' extraordinary conduct, Mr. Latimer,' I stammered. 
'You must be aware that what you are doing is quite illegal.' 

" ' It is somewhat of a libert\', no doubt,' said he, 'but we'll make 
it up to you. But I must warn \-ou, however, Mr. Melas, that if 


at ail)- time to-night }-ou attempt to raise an alarm or do an}-thing 
which is against my interests, you will find it a very serious thing. I 
beg you to remember that no one knows where )-ou arc, and that 
whether }-ou are in this carriage or in my house, you are equall)' in 
m)' power.' 

" His words were quiet, but he had a rasping wa\' of sa)'ing them 
which was very menacing. I sat in silence, wondering what on earth 
could be his reason for kidnapping me in this extraordinary fashion. 
Whatever it might be, it was perfectly clear that there was no possible 
use in my resisting, and that I could onl)' wait to see what might befall. 

" For nearly two hours we drove without m}- ha\ing the least 
clue as to where we were going. Sometimes the rattle of the stones 
told of a paved causeway, and at others our smooth, silent course 
suggested asphalt, but save this variation in sound there was 
nothing at all which could in the remotest way help me to form a 
guess as to where we were. The paper over each window \\as 
impenetrable to light, and a blue curtain was drawn across the glass- 
w<^rk in front. It was a quarter past seven when we left Pall Mall, 
and m\' watch showed me that it was ten minutes to nine when we at 
last came to a standstill. M}- companion let down the window and I 
caught a glimpse of a low, arched doorwa}- with a lamp burning above 
it. As I was hurricfl from the carriage it swung open, and I found 
myself inside the house, with a vague impression of a lawn and trees 
on each side of me as I entered. Whether these were private grounds, 
however, or bond-fide country was more than I could possibly venture 
to say. 

" There was a coloured gas-lamp inside, which was turned so low 
that I could see little save that the hall was of some size and hune \\\\\\ 
pictures. In the dim light I could make out that the person who had 
opened the door was a small, mean-looking, middle-aged man with 
rounded shoulders. As he turned towards us the glint of the li<zht 
showed me that he was vrearing glasses. 

" ' Is this Mr. Melas, Harold ? ' said he. 

" ' Yes.' 

" ' Well done ! Well done ! No ill-will, Mr. Melas, I hope, but 
we could not get on without \-ou. If you deal fair with us )-ou'll not 
regret it ; but if }'ou try any tricks, God help }'ou ! ' 


" He spoke in a jerk}', nervous fashion, and with some giggling 
laughs in between, but somehow he impressed me \\\1\\ fear more than 
the other. 

" ' What do }'ou want with me ? ' I asked. 

" ' Only to ask a few questions of a Greek gentleman who is 
visiting us, and to let us have the answers. But sa)- no more than 
you are told to say, or ' — here came the nervous giggle again — ' you 
had better never have been born.' 

" As lie spoke lie opened a door and showed the way into a room 
which appeared to be \ery richly furnished — but again the onl)- light 
was afforded b}' a single lamp half turned down. The chamber was 
certainly large, and the wa)' in which my feet sank into the carpet 
as I stepped across it told me of its richness. I caught glimpses of 
velvet chairs, a high, white marble mantelpiece, and what seemed to 
be a suit of Japanese armour at one side of it. There was a chair 
just under the lamp, and the elderly man motioned that I should sit 
in it. The }'ounger had left us, but he suddenl}- returned through 
another door, leading with him a gentleman clad in some sort of loose 
dressing-gown, who moved slowly towards us. As he came into the 
circle of dim light which enabled me to see him more clearly, I was 
thrilled with horror at his appearance. He was deadly pale and 
terribly emaciated, with the protruding, brilliant c}'es of a man whose 
spirit is greater than his strength. But what shocked me more than 
any signs of ph}'sical weakness was that his face was grotesquely 
criss-crossed with sticking-plaster, and that one large pad of it was 
fastened over his mouth. 

" ' Have }'ou the slate, Harold ? ' cried the older man, as this 
strange being fell rather than sat down into a chair. ' Are his hands 
loose ? Now then, give him the pencil, You are to ask the questions, 
Mr. Melas, and he will write the answers. Ask him first of all 
whether he is prepared to sign the papers.' 

" The man's eyes flashed fire. 

" ' Never,' he wrote in Greek upon the slate. 

" ' On no conditions ? ' I asked at the bidding of our tyrant. 

" ' Only if I see her married in m)- presence b)' a Greek priest 
whom I know.' 

" The man giggled in his venomous wa)-. 




" ' You know what awaits )-ou, then ? ' 

" ' I care nothing for mj-sclf.' 

" These are samples of the questions and answers which made up 
our strange, half-spoken, half-written conversation. Again and again 
I had to ask him whether he would give in and sign the document. 
Again and again I had the same indignant repl)^ But soon a happy- 
thought came to me. I took to adding on little sentences of my own 
to each question — innocent ones at first, to test whether either of our 
companions knew anything of the matter, and then, as I found that 
they showed no sign, I played a more dangerous game. Our conver- 
sation ran something like this : — 

" ' You can do no good by this obstinacy. WJio are you ? ' 

" ' I care not. / ^?w a strcnigcr in London.' 


'" Your fate will be on >'Our own head. How lo7ig have you been 
here ? ' 

" ' Let it be s(x Three zueeks' 

" ' The propert}' can ne\-ei- be yours. What ails you ? ' 

" ' It shall not go to villains. They are starving i/iei 

" ' You shall go free if >t)U sign. What house is this ? ' 

" ' I will never sign. / do not kno-w'. 

" ' You are not doing her any service. What is your name ? ' 

" ' Let me hear her say so. Kratides'. 

" ' You shall see her if )'ou sign. WJiere are you from? ' 

"' Then I shall never see her. Athens.' 

"Another five minutes, Mr. Holmes, and I should have wormed 
out the whole story under their very noses. My very next question 
might have cleared the matter up, but at that instant the door opened 
and a woman stepped into the room. I could not see her clearl)- 
enoush to know more than that she was tall and graceful, with black 
hair, and clad in some sort of loose white gown. 

" ' Harold ! ' said she, speaking English w ith a broken accent, ' I 
could not sta}' away longer. It is so lonely up there with onl)- — oh, 
m)' God, it is Paul ! ' 

" These last words were in Greek, and at the same instant the 
man, with a convulsi\-e effort, tore the plaster from his lips, and 
screaming out ' Soph}- ! Sophy ! ' rushed into the woman's arms. 
Their embrace was but for an instant, however, for the \'ounger man 
seized the woman and pushed her out of the room, while the elder 
easily overpowered his emaciated victim, and dragged him away 
through the other door. For a moment I was left alone in the room, 
and I sprang to m\' feet with some vague idea that I might in some 
way get a clue to what this house was in which I found myself. 
Fortunately, however, I took no steps, for, looking up, I sa^^' that the 
older man was standing in the doorway, with his eyes fixed upon me, 

" ' That will do, Mr. Melas,' said he. ' You perceive that we have 
taken you into our confidence over some very private business. We 
should not have troubled you only that our friend who speaks Greek 
and who began these negotiations has been forced to return to the 
East. It was quite neces.sary for us to find someone to take his ]:>lace, 
and we were fortunate in hearing of \-our powers.' 



• SOl'HY ! SOPHY ! ' 

" I bowed. 

" ' There arc five sovereigns here,' said he, walking up to me, 
' which will, I hope, be a sufficient fee. But remember,' he added, 
tapping me lighth- on the chest and giggling, ' if )'ou speak to a 
human soul about this — one human soul minrl — well, ma}' God have 
mercy upon }'our soul ! ' 

" I caiuiot tell }'ou the loathing and horror with which this 
insignificant-looking man inspired me. I could see him better now as 
the lamp-light .shone upon him. His features were peeky and sallow, 
and his little, pointed beard was thread)- and ill-nourished. He 
pu.shed his face forward as he spoke, and his lips and e)'elids were 


continually twitching-, like a man with St. Vitus's dance. I could not 
help thinking that his strange, catchy little laugh was also a symptom 
of some nervous malady. The terror of his face lay in his eyes how- 
ever, steel grey, and glistening coldl}', with a malignant, inexorable 
cruelty in their depths. 

" ' We shall know if )'ou speak of this,' said he. ' We have our 
own means of information. Now, >-ou will find the carriage waiting, 
and my friend will see you on your wa}'.' 

" I was hurried through the hall, and into the vehicle, again 
obtaining that momentar)- glimpse of trees and a garden. Mr. 
Latimer followed closcl)' at my heels, and took his place opposite to 
me without a word. In silence we again drove for an interminable 
distance, with the windows raised, until at last, just after midnight, 
the carriage pulled up. 

" You will get down here, Mr. Melas,' said my companion. ' I am 
sorr}' to leave you so far from )'our house, but there is no alternati\'e. 
An}' attempt upon }our part to follow the carriage can onl}- end in 
injury to }'ourself ' 

" He opened the door as he spoke, and I had hardly time to 
spring out when the coachman lashed the horse, and the carriage 
rattled away, I looked round mc in astonishment. I was on some 
sort of a heath}' common, mottled over with dark clumps of furze 
bushes. Far awa}' stretched a line of houses, with a light here and 
there in the upper windows. On the other side I saw the red signal 
lamps of a railwa}'. 

" The carriage which had brought me was already out • of 
sight. I stood gazing round and wondering where on earth I might 
be, when I saw someone coming towards me in the darkness. As he 
came up to me I made out that it was a railway porter. 

" ' Can you tell me what place this is ? ' I asked. 

" ' Wandsworth Common,' said he. 

" ' Can I get a train into town ? ' 

" ' If you walk on a mile or so, to Clapham Junction,' said he, 
' you'll just be in time for the last to Victoria.' 

" So that was the end of my adventure, Mr. Holmes. I do not 
know where I was nor whom I spoke with, nor anything, save what 
I have told }'ou. But I know that there is f)ul play going on, and I 



f| want to help that 
unhappy man if I 
can. I told the 
whole story to Mr. 
My croft Holmes 
next morning and, 
subsequently, to 
the police." 

\\'e all sat in 
silence for some 
little time after 
listening to this ex- 
traordinary narra- 
tiAC. Then Sher- 
lock looked across 
at his brother. 

" Any steps ? " 
he asked. 

Mycroft picked 
up the Daily Ncivs, 
which was lying on 
a side table. 

'"Anybody sup- 
plying any information as to the whereabouts of a Greek gentleman 
named Paul Kratides, from Athens, who is unable to speak English, 
wall be rewarded. A similar reward paid to anyone giving infor- 
mation about a Greek lady whose first name is Sophy. X 2473.' 
That was in all the dailies. No answer." 
" How about the Greek Legation ? " 
" I have inquired. They know nothing." 
" A wire to the head of the Athens police, then." 
" Sherlock has all the energy of the family," said Mycroft, turning 
to me. " Well, you take up the case by all means, and let me know 
if you do any good." 


" Certainly," answered my friend, rising from his chair. 


let you know, and Mr. Melas also. In the meantime, Mr. Melas, 
I should certainly be on my guard if I were you, for, of course. 


they must know through these advertisements that you have be- 
trayed them." 

As we walked home together Ilohnes stopped at a telegraph 
office and sent off several wires. 

" You see, Watson," he remarked, " our evening has been by no 
means wasted. Some of my most interesting cases have come to me 
in this way through Mycroft. l"he problem which we have just 
listened to, although it can admit of but one explanation, has still 
some distinguishing featiu'cs." 

" You have hopes of solving it ? " 

" Well, knowing as much as we do, it will be singular indeed if 
we fail to discover the rest. You must yourself have formed some 
theory which will explain the facts to which we have listened." 

" In a vague way, yes." 

" What was your idea then ? " 

"It seemed to me to be obvious that this Greek girl had been 
carried off by the young Englishman named Harold Latimer." 

" Carried off from where ? " 

" Athens, perhaps." 

Sherlock Holmes shook his head. " This young man could not 
talk a word cjf Greek. The lad}' could talk English fairly well. 
Inference that she had been in England some little time, but he had 
not been in Greece." 

" Well, then, we will presume that she had come on a visit to 
England, and that this Harold had persuaded her to fly with him." 

" That is the more probable." 

" Then the brother — for that, I fancy, must be the relationship — 
comes over from Greece to interfere. He imprudently puts himself 
into the power of the young man and his older associate. They 
seize him and use violence towards him in order to make him sign 
some papers to make over the girl's fortune — of which he may be 
trustee — to them. This he refuses to do. In order to negotiate wilii 
him, they have to get an interpreter, and they pitch upon this Mr. 
Melas, having used some other one before. The girl is not told of 
the arri\al of her brother, and fuids it out b}- the merest accident." 

" l^xcellent, Watson," cried Holmes. " I really fancy that you 
are not far from the truth. You see that \\e hold all the cards, and 



we have only to fear some sudden act of violence on their part. If 
they give us time we must have them." 

" But how can we find where this house lies ? " 

" Well, if our conjecture is correct, and the girl's name is, or was, 
Sophy Kratides, we should have no difficulty in tracing her. That 
must be our main hope, for the brother, of course, is a complete 
stranger. It is clear that some time has elapsed since this Harold 
established these relations with the girl — some weeks at any rate — 
since the brother in Greece has had time to hear of it and come across. 
If they have been living in the same place during this time, it is pro- 
bable that we shall have some answer to Mycroft's advertisement." 

We had reached our house in Baker Street whilst we had been 
talking. Holmes ascended the stairs first, and as he opened the door of 
our room he gave a start of surprise. Looking over his shoulder I was 
equally astonished. His brother Mycroft was sitting smoking in the 



" Come in, Sherlock ! Come in, sir," said he, blandly, smiling at 
our surprised faces. " You don't expect such energy from me, do you, 
Sherlock ? But somehow this case attracts me." 

" How did you get here ? " 

" I passed you in a hansom." 

" There has been some new development ? '' 

" I liad an answer to my advertisement." 

" Ah ! " 

"Yes ; it came within a few minutes of your leaving." 

" And to what effect ? " 

Mycroft Holmes took out a sheet of paper. 

" Here it is," said he, " written with a J pen on royal cream paper 
by a middle-aged man with a weak constitution. ' Sir,' he says, ' in 
answer to your advertisement of to-day's date, I beg to inform you that 
I know the young lady in question very well. If you should care to 
call upon me, I could give you some particulars as to her painful 
history. She is living at present at The Myrtles, Beckenham. — Yours 
faithfully, J. DAVENPORT." 

" He writes from Lower Brixton," said Mycroft Holmes. " Do 
you not think that we might drive to him now, Sherlock, and learn 
these particulars ? " 

" My dear Mycroft, the brother's life is more valuable than the 
sister's story. I think we should call at Scotland Yard f(;r Inspector 
Gregson, and go straight out to Beckenham. Wc know that a man 
is being done to death, and every hour may be vital." 

" Better pick up Mr Alelas upon our way," I suggested ; " we may 
need an interpreter." 

" Excellent ! " said Sherlock Holmes. " Send the boy for a four- 
wheeler, and we shall be off at once." He opened the table-drawer 
as he spoke, and I noticed that he slipped his revolver into his pocket. 
"Yes," said he, in answer to my glance, " I should say from what wc 
have heard that we are dealing witli a particularly dangerous gang." 

It was almost dark before we found ourselves in Pall Mall, at the 
rooms of Mr. Melas. A gentleman had just called for him, and he 
was gone. 

"Can you tell me where?" a.sked Mycroft Holmes. 

" 1 don't knuw, sir," answered the woman who h.ul opened the 


door. " I only know that he drove away with the gentleman in a 


" Did the gentleman give a name ? " 

" No, sir." 

" He wasn't a tall, handsome, dark young man ? " 

" Oh, no, sir ; he was a little gentleman, with glasses, thin in the 
face, but very pleasant in his wa\s, for he was laughing all the time 
that he was talking." 

" Come along ! " cried Sherlock Holmes, abruptl}'. " This grows 
serious ! " he observed, as we drove to Scotland Yard. " These men 
have got hold of Melas again. He is a man of no physical courage, as 
they are well aware from their experience the other night. This 
\'illain was able to terrorize him the instant that he got into his 
presence. No doubt they want his professional services ; but, having 
used him, they ma\' be inclined to punish him for what the)- will 
regard as his treachery." 

Our hope was that b)- taking train we might get to Beckenham 
as soon as, or sooner than, the carriage. On reaching Scotland Yard, 
however, it was more than an hour before we could get Inspector 
Gregson and compl}- with the legal formalities which would enable us 
to enter the house. It was a quarter to ten before we reached London 
Bridge, and half-past before the four of us alighted on the Beckenham 
platform. A drive of half a mile brought us to The Myrtles — a large, 
dark house, standing back from the road in its own grounds. Here 
we dismissed our cab, and made our wa\- u[) the drive together. 

"The windows arc all dark," remarked the inspector. "The 
house seems deserted." 

" Our birds are flown and the nest empt}'," said Holmes. 

" Why do you say so ? " 

" A carriage heavily loaded with luggage has passed out during 
the last hour." 

The inspector laughed. '' I saw the wheel tracks in the light of 
the gate-lamp, but where does the luggage come in ? " 

" You may have observed the same wheel -tracks going the other 
way. But the outward-bound ones were ver}- much deeper — so much 
so that we can say for a certainty that there was a very considerable 

weight on the carriage." 



" You get -a trifle beyonrl me there," .':aid the inspector, shrugging 
his shoulders. " It will not be an eas)- door to force. But we \\\\\ \xy 
if we cannot make someone hear us." 

He hammered loudly at the knocker and pulled at the bell, but 
without an}' success. Holmes had slipped awa)-, but he came back in 
a few minutes. 

" I have a window open," said he. 

"It is a mercy that }'OU are on the side of the force, and not 
against it, Mr. Holmes," remarked the inspector, as he noted the 
clever way in which m\' friend had forced back the catch. " Well, I 
think that, under the circumstances, we ma}- enter without waiting 
for an invitation." 

One after the other we made our way into a large apartment, 
v/hich was evidently that in which Mr. Melas had found himself. The 
inspector had lit his lantern, and b}' its light we could see the two 
doors, the curtain, the lamp, and the suit of Japanese mail as he had 
described them. On the table stood two glasses, an empt}' brand}' 
bottle, and the remains of a meal. 

" What is that?" asked Holmes, suddenl}'. 

We all stood still and listened. A low, moaning sound was 
coming from somewhere above our heads. Holmes rushed to the 
door and out into the hall. The dismal noise came from upstairs. 
He dashed up, the inspector and I at his heels, while his brother, 
Mycroft, followed as quickl}' as his great bulk would permit. 

Three doors faced us upon the second floor, and it was from the 
central of these that the sinister sounds were issuing, sinking some- 
times into a dull mumble and rising again into a shrill v^hine. It was 
locked, but the kc}- was on the outside. Holmes flung open the door 
and rushed in, but he was out again in an instant w ith his hand to 
his throat. 

" It's charcoal ! " he cried. " Gi\'e it time. It w ill clear." 

Peering in, we could sec that the onl}' light in the room came 
from a dull, blue flame, which flickered from a small brass tripod in 
the centre. It threw a li\itl, uimatural circle upon the floor, while in 
the shadows beyond we saw the \aguc loom of two figures, which 
crouched against the wall. iM'om the open door there reeked a 
horrible, poisonous exhalation, which set us gasping and coughing. 



'■ ' it's charcoal, he cried. 

Holmes rushed to the top of the stairs to draw in the fresh air, and 
then, dashing into the room, he threw up the window and hurled the 
brazen tripod out into the garden. 

" We can enter in a minute," he gasped, darting out again. 
" Where is a candle ? I doubt if we could strike a match in that 
atmosphere. Hold the light at the door and we shall get them out, 
Mycroft. Now ! " 

With a rush we got to the poisoned men and dragged them out 
on to the landing. Both of them were blue-lipped and insensible, 
with swollen, congested faces and protruding ej-es. Indeed, so 
distorted were their features that, save for his black beard and stout 
figure, we might have failed to recognise in one of them the Greek 


interpreter who had parted from us only a {q.\v hours before at the 
Diogenes Club. His hands and feet were securely strapped together 
and he bore over one eye the mark of a violent blow. The other, 
who was secured in a similar fashion, was a tall man in the last stage 
of emaciation, with several strips of sticking-plaster arranged in a 
grotesque pattern over his face. He had ceased to moan as we laid 
him down, and a glance showed me that for him, at least, our aid had 
come too late. Mr. Melas, however, still lived, and in less than an hour, 
with the aid of ammonia and brandy, I had the satisfaction of seeing 
him open his eyes, and of knowing that my hand had drawn him 
back from the dark valley in which all paths meet. 

It was a simple story which he had to tell, and one which did but 
confirm our own deductions. His visitor on entering his rooms had 
drawn a life preserver from his sleeve, and had so impressed him with 
the fear of instant and inevitable death, that he had kidnapped him 
for the second time. Indeed, it was almost mesmeric the effect which 
this giggling ruffian had produced upon the unfortunate linguist, for 
he could not speak of him save with trembling hands and a blanched 
check. He had been taken swiftly to Beckenham, and had acted as 
interpreter in a second interview, even more dramatic than the first, in 
which the two Englishmen had menaced their prisoner with instant 
death if he did not comply with their demands. Finally, finding him 
proof against every threat, they had hurled him back into his prison, 
and after reproaching Melas with his treachery, which appeared from 
the newspaper advertisement, they had stunned him with a blow from 
a stick, and he remembered nothing more until he found us bending 
over him. 

And this was the singular case of the Grecian Interpreter, the 
explanation of which is still involved in some myster}'. We were 
able to find out, by communicating with the gentleman who had 
answered the advertisement, that the unfortunate }'Oung lady came of 
a wealthy Grecian family, and that she had been on a visit to some 
friends in England. While there she had met a young man named 
Harold Latimer, who had acquired an ascendency over her, and had 
eventually persuaded her to fly with him. Her friends, shocked 
at the event, had contented themselves with informing her brother at 
Athens, and had then washed their hands of the matter. The brother, 


on his arrival in England, had imprudently placed himself in the 
power of Latimer and of his associate, whose name was Wilson 
Kemp — a man of the foulest antecedents. These two, finding 
that through his ignorance of the language he was helpless in 
their hands, had kept him a prisoner, and had endeavoured, by 
cruelty and starvation, to make him sign away his own and 
his sister's property. They had kept him in the house without 
the girl's knowledge, and the plaster over the face had been 
for the purpose of making recognition difficult in case she 
should ever catch a glimpse of him. Her feminine perceptions, 
however, had instantly seen through the disguise when, on the 
occasion of the interpreter's first visit, she had seen him for the 
first time. The poor girl, however, was herself a prisoner, for 
there was no one about the house except the man who acted as coach- 
man, and his wife, both of whom were tools of the conspirators 
Finding that their secret was out and that their prisoner was not to 
be coerced, the two villains, with the girl, had fled away at a few 
hours' notice from the furnished house which they had hired, having 
first, as they thought, taken vengeance both upon the man who had 
defied and the one who had betrayed them. 

Months afterwards a curious newspaper cutting reached us from 
Buda-Pesth. It told how two Englishmen who had been travelling 
with a woman had met with a tragic end. They had each been 
stabbed, it seems, and the Hungarian police were of opinion that 
they had quarrelled and had inflicted mortal injuries upon each 
other. Holmes, however, is, I fancy, of a different way of thinking, 
and he holds to this day that if one could find the Grecian girl one 
might learn how the wrongs of herself and her brother came to be 


HE July which immediately succeeded my marriage was 
made memorable by three cases of interest in which I 
had the privilege of being associated with Sherlock 
Holmes, and of studying his methods. I find them 
recorded in my notes under the headings of " The 
Adventure of the Second Stain," " The Adventure of the Naval 
Treaty," and " The Adventure of the Tired Captain." The first of 
these, however, deals with interests of such importance, and implicates 
so many of the first families in the kingdom, that for many years it 
will be impossible to make it public. No case, however, in which 
Holmes was e\er engaged has illustrated the value of his analytical 
methods so clearly or has impressed those who were associated with 
him so deeply. I still retain an almost verbatim report of the inter- 
view in which he demonstrated the true facts of the case to Monsieur 
Dubuque, of the Paris police, and Eritz von Waldbaum, the well- 
known specialist of Dantzig, both of whom had wasted their energies 
upon what proved to be side issues. The new century will have come, 
however, before the story can be safely told. Meanwhile, I pass on to 
the second upon my list, which promised also, at one time, to be 
of national importance, and was marked by .several incidents which 
give it a quite unicjue character. 

During my school days I had been intimately associated with a 
lad named Percy Phelps, who was of much the same age as myself, 
though he was two classes ahead of me. He was a very brilliant 
boy, and 'carried away every prize which the school had to offer, 
finishing his exploits b\' winning a scholarship, wln'ch sent him on to 
continue his triumphant career at Cambridge. He was, I remember, 
extremely well connected, and even when we were all little boys 


together, we knew that his mother's brother was Lord Holdhurst, the 

great Conservative pohtician. This gaudy relationship did him httlc 

good at school ; on the contrar\-, it seemed rather a piquant thing to 

us to chevy him about the pla)'ground and hit him over the shins 

with a wicket, l^ut it was another thing when he came out into the 

world. I heard vaguely that his abilities and the influence which he 

commanded had won him a good position at the Foreign Office, 

and then he passed completely out of m\- mind until the following 

letter recalled his existence : — 

" Kriarbrac, \\\jking. 

" My Dear Watson, — I ha\c no doubt that )'ou can remember 
' Tadpole ' Phelps, w ho was in the fifth form ^\•hen \-ou were in 
the third. It is possible even that }ou may have heard that, through 
my uncle's influence, I obtained a good appointment at the Foreign 
Office, and that I was in a situation of trust and honour until a 
horrible misfortune came suddenly to blast my career. 

" There is no use writing the details of that dreadful event. In 
the event of your acceding to m\- request, it is probable that I shall 
have to narrate them to you. I have onl}- just recovered from nine 
weeks of brain fever, and am still exceedingly weak. Do you think 
that you could bring your friend, Mr. Holmes, down to see me ? 
I should like to have his opinion of the case, though the authorities 
assure me that nothing more can be done. 'Do try to bring him down, 
and as soon as possible. Every minute seems an hour while I live in this 
horrible suspense. Assure him that, if I have not asked his advice 
sooner, it was not because I did not appreciate his talents, but because 
I have been off my head ever since the blow fell. Now I am clear 
again, though I dare not think of it too much for fear of a relapse. 
I am still §0 weak that I have to write, as you see, by dictating. Do 
try and bring him. " Your old schoolfellow, 

" Percy Phelps." 

There was something that touched me as I read this letter, some- 
thing pitiable in the reiterated appeals to bring Holmes. So moved 
was I that, even if it had been a difficult matter, I should have tried 
it ; but, of course, I knew well that Holmes loved his art so, that he 
was ever as ready to bring his aid as his client could be to receive it. 
My wife agreed with me that not a moment should be lost in la}-ing 



the matter before him, and so, within an hour of breakfast-time, I 
found myself back once more in the old rooms in Baker Street, 

Holmes was seated at his side table clad in his dressing-gown 


and working hard over a chemical investigation. A large curved 
retort was boiling furiously in the bluish flame of a Bunsen burner, 
and the distilled drops were condensing into a two-litre measure. My 
friend hardly glanced up as I entered, and I, seeing that his investi- 
gation must be of importance, seated myself in an arm-chair and 
waited. He dipped into this bottle or that, drawing out a few drops 
of each with his glass pipette, and finall)' brought a test-tube 
containing a solution over to the table. In his right hand he had a 
slip of litmus-paper, 

" You come at a crisis, Watson," said he. " If this paper remains 


blue, all is well. If it turns red, it means a man's life." Me dipped it 
into the test-tube and it flushed at once into a dull, dirty crimson. 
" Hum ! I thought as much ! " he cried. " I shall be at your service 
in one instant, Watson. You will find tobacco in the Persian slipper." 
He turned to his desk and scribbled off several telegrams, which were 
handed over to the page-boy. Then he threw himself down in the 
chair opposite, and drew up his knees until his fingers clasped round 
his long, thin shins. 

" A very commonplace little murder," said he. " You've got 
something better, I fancy. You are the stormy petrel of crime, 
Watson. What is it ? " 

I handed him the letter, which he read with the most con- 
centrated attention. 

" It does not tell us verv much, does it ? " he remarked, as he 
handed it back to me. 

" Hardly anything." 

" And yet the writing is of interest." 

" But the writing is not his own." 

"Precisely. It is a woman's." 

" A man's, surely ! " I cried. 
, " No, a woman's ; and a woman of rare character. You see, at 

the commencement of an inv^estigation, it is something to know that 
your client is in close contact with someone who for good or evil has 
an exceptional nature. My interest is already awakened in the case. 
If you are ready, we will start at once for Woking and see this 
diplomatist who is in such evil case, and the lady to whom he dictates 
his letters." 

We were fortunate enough to catch an early train at Waterloo, 
and in a little under an hour we found ourselves among the fir-woods 
and the heather of Woking. Briarbrae proved to be a large detached standin.g in extensive grounds, within a 'io.w minutes' walk of 
the station. On sending in our cards we were shown into an elegantly- 
appointed drawing-room, where we were joined in a 'io.xN minutes by a 
rather stout man, who received us with much hospitality. His age 
may have been nearer forty than thirt}-, but his cheeks were so ruddy 
and his eyes so merry, that he still conveyed the impression of a 
plump and mischievous boy. 


" I am so glacl that you have come," said he, shaking our hands 
with effusion. " Percy has been inquiring for you all the morning. 
Ah, poor old chap, he clings to any straw. His father and mother 
asked me to see you, for the mere mention of the subject is ver)' 
painful to them." 

" We have had no details yet," okserved Holmes. " I perceive 
that you are not yourself a member of the family." 

Our acquaintance looked surprised, and then glancing down he 
began to laugh. 

"Of course you saw the 'J. H.' monogram on my locket," said 
he. " For a moment I thought vou had done something clever. 
Joseph Harrison is my name, and as Percy is to marry my sister 
Annie, I shall at least be a relation by marriage. You will find m}' 
sister in his room, for she has nursed him hand-and-foot this two 
months back. Perhaps we had better go in at once, for I know how 
impatient he is." 

The chamber into which we were shown was on the same floor as 
the drawing-room. It was furnished partly as a sitting and partly as 
a bedroom, with flowers arranged daintily in ever}^ nook and corner. 
A young man, very pale and worn, was h'ing upon a sofa near the 
open window, through which came the rich scent of the garden and 
the balmy summer air. A \\x:»man was sitting beside him, and rose as 
we entered. 

" Shall I leave, Percy ?" she asked. 

He clutched her hand to detain her. " How are you, Watson ? " 
said he, cordially. " I should never have known you under that 
moustache, and I daresay you would not be prepared to swear to me. 
This, I presume, is your celebrated friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes?" 

I introduced him in a few words, and we both sat down. The 
stout young man had left us, but his sister still remained, with her 
hand in that of the invalid. She was a striking-looking woman, a 
little short and thick for symmetry, but with a beautiful olive com- 
plexion, large, dark Italian eyes, and a wealth of tleep black haii'. 
Her rich lints made the white face of her com[)anion the more worn 
and h'lggard b}' the contrast. 

" I won't waste \-our time," said he, raising himself upon the 
sofii. " I'll i)lungc into the matter without further preamble. I was 




a happy and successful man, Mr. Holmes, and on thg e\-e of bein^^ 
married, when a sudden and dreadful misfortune wrecked all m\- 
prospects in life. 

" I was, as Watson may have told you, in the Foreign Office, 
and through the influence of my unsiC, Lord Holdhurst, I rose rapidly 
to a responsibb position. When :ny uncle became Foreign Minister 
in this Administration he gav2 me several missions of trust, and as I 
always brought them to a successful conclusion, he came at last to 
have the utmost confidence in my abilit}' and tact. 

" Nearly ten weeks ago — to be more accurate, on the 23rd of 
May— he called me into his private room and, after complimenting 
me upon the good work which I had done, informed me that he 
had a new commission of trust for me to execute. 

" ' This,' said he, taking a grey roll of paper from his bureau, ' is 
the original of that secret treaty between England and Italy of which, 



I regret to say, some rumours have already got into the pubjic Press. 
It is of enormous importance that nothing further should leak out. 
The French or Russian Embassies would pay an immense sum to 
learn the contents of these papers. They should not leave my bureau 
were it not that it is absolutely necessary to have them copied. You 
have a desk in your office ? ' 

" ' Yes, sir.' 

" ' Then take the treaty and lock it up there. I shall give 


directions that you may remain behind when tlir others go, so that 
3'ou may copy it at \'our leisure, without fear of being overlooked. 
When you have finished, re-lock both the original and the draft in the 
desk, and hand them over to mc personally to-morrow morning.' 
" I took the papers and " 


" Excuse me an instant," said Holmes ; " were you alone during 
this conversation ? " 

" Absolutely." 

" In a large room ? " 

" Thirty feet each way." 

" In the centre? " 

" Yes, about it." 

" And speaking low ? " 

" My uncle's voice is alwa\-s remarkably low. I hardly spoke 
at all." 

" Thank you," said Holmes, shutting his eyes ; " pray go on." 

" I did exactly what he had indicated, and waited until the other 
clerks had departed. One of them in my room, Charles Gorot, had 
some arrears of work to make up, so I left him there and went out to 
dine. When I returned he was gone. I was anxious to hurry mj- 
work, for I knew that Joseph, the Mr. Harrison whom you saw just 
now, was in town, and that he would travel down to Woking by the 
eleven o'clock train, and I wanted if possible to catch it. 

" When I came to examine the treaty I saw at once that it was 
of such importance that my uncle had been guilty of no exaggeration 
in what he had said. Without going into details, I may say that it 
defined the position of Great Britain towards the Triple Alliance, and 
foreshadowed the policy which this country would pursue in the e\-cnt 
of the French fleet gaining a complete ascendency over that of Ital}' 
in the Mediterranean. The questions treated in it were purely naval. 
At the end were the signatures of the high dignitaries who had signed 
it. I glanced my eyes over it, and then settled down to m\' task of 

" It was a long document, written in the French language, and 
containing twenty-six separate articles. I copied as quickl)' as I could, 
but at nine o'clock I had only done nine articles, and it .seemed hope- 
less for me to attempt to catch my train. I was feeling drowsy and 
stupid, partly from my dinner and also from the effects of a long 
day's work. A cup of coffee would clear my brain. A commis- 
sionaire remains all night in a little lodcj;e at the foot of the stairs, and is 
in the habit of making coffee at his spirit-lamp for any of the officials who 
may be working overtime. I rang the bell, therefore, to summon him. 



" To m)' surprise, it was a woman who answered the summons, a 
large, coarse-faced, elderl}' woman, in an apron. She explained that 
she was the commissionaire's wife, who did the charing, and I gave 
her the order for the coffee. 

" I wrote two more articles, and then, feeling more drowsy than 
ever, 1 and walked up and down the room to stretch my legs. 
My coffee had not )-ct come, and I wondered what the cause of the 
delay could be. Opening the door, I started down the corridor to 
find out. There was a straight passage dimly lit \\\\\q\\ led from 
the room in which I had been working, and was the only exit from it. 
It ended in a curving staircase, with the commissionaire's lodge in the 
passage at the bottom. Half-way down this staircase is a small 
landing, with another passage running into it at right angles. The 
second one leads, by means of a second small stair, to a side door 
used by servants, and also as a short cut by clerks when coming from 
Charles Street. Here is a rough chart of the place." 


ccffa u > 


5 J< A 




" Thank }'ou. I think that I quite follow you," said Sherlock 

" It is of the utmost importance that you should notice this point. 
I went down the stairs and into the hall, where I found the commis- 
sionaire fast asleep in his box, with the kettle boiling furiously upon 
the spirit lamp, for the water was spurting over the floor. I had 
put out my hand and was about to shake the man, who was still 



t-Asr ASi.KKP IN in<; i^i>\. 

sleeping soundl)', when a bell over his head rang loucU}', and he woke 
with a start. 

'" Mr. rhelps, sir! ' said he, looking at me in bewilderment. 

" ' I came down to see if m\- cofYee was ready.' 

" ' I was boiling the kettle when I fell asleep, sir.' He looked at 
me and then n|) at the still (|ui\'cring bell, with an ever-growing 
astonishment upon his face. 

'" If }-ou was here, sir, then whi) I'ang the bell ? ' he asked. 

" ' The bell ! ' 1 said. ' What bell is it ? ' 

" ' It's the bell of the room \-ou were working in.' 

" A cold hand seemed to close round m\- heart. .Someone, then, 
was in that room where m\- precious treat}- la}' upon the table. I ran 
frantically up the stairs and along the passage. There was no one 
in the corridor, Mr. Holmes. There was no one in the room. All 


was exactly as I left it, save only that the papers committed to my 
care had been taken from the desk on which they lay. The copy 
was there and the original was gone." 

Holmes sat up in his chair and rubbed his hands. I could see 
that the problem was entirel}' to his heart. " Pray, what did you do 
then ? " he murmured. 

" I recognised in an instant that the thief must have come up 
the stairs from the side door. Of course, I must have met him if he 
had come the other way." 

" You were satisfied that he could not have been concealed in the 
room all the time, or in the corridor which you have just described as 
dimly lighted ? " 

" It is absolutely impossible. A rat could not conceal himself 
cither in the room or the corridor. There is no cover at all." 

" Thank you. Pray proceed." 

" The commissionaire, seeing by my pale face that something was 
to be feared, had followed me upstairs. Now we both rushed along 
the corridor and clown the steep steps which led to Charles Street. 
The door at the bottom was closed but unlocked. We flung it open 
and rushed out. I can distinctly remember that as we did so there 
came three chimes from a neighbouring church. It was a quarter to 

■' That is of enormous importance," said Holmes, making a note 
upon his shirt cuff 

" The night was very dark, and a thin, warm rain was falling. 
There was no one in Charles Street, but a great traffic was going on, 
as usual, in Whitehall at the cxtremit}'. We rushed along the pave- 
ment, bareheaded as we were, and at the far corner \vc found a 
policeman .standing. 

" ' A robbery has been committed,' I gasped. ' A document of 
immense value has been stolen from the Foreign Office. Has anyone 
passed this way ? ' 

" ' I have been standing here for a quarter of an hour, sir,' said 
he ; ' onl\' one person has passed during that time — a woman, tall and 
elderly, with a Paisley shawl.' 

'"Ah, that is onl}- my wife,' cried the commissionaire. 'Has no 
one else passed ? ' 


" ' No one.' 

" ' Then it must be the other way that the thief took,' cried the 
fellow, tugging at my sleeve. 

" But I was not satisfied, and the attempts which he made to 
draw me away increased my suspicions. 

" ' Which way did the woman go ? ' I cried. 

" ' I don't know, sir. I noticed her pass, but I had no special 
reason for watching her. She seemed to be in a hurry.' 

" ' How long ago was it ? ' 

" ' Oh, not very many minutes.' 

" ' Within the last five ? ' 

" ' Well, it could not be more than five. 

" ' You're onl)' wasting your time, sir, and every minute now is of 
importance,' cried the commissionaire. ' Take my word for it that my 
old woman has nothing to do with it, and come down to the other end 
of the street. Well, if you won't I will,' and with that he rushed off 
in the other direction. 

" l^ut I was after him in an in.^itant and caught him by the sleeve. 

" ' Where do you live ? ' said I. 

"'No. 16, Iv}' Lane, Brixton,' he answered; 'but don't let 
yourself be drawn away upon a false scent, Mr. Phelps. Come to the 
other end of the street, and let us see if we can hear of anything.' 

" Nothing was to be lost b\^ following his advice. With the 
policeman we both hurried down, but only to find the street full of 
traffic, many people coming and going, but all only too eager to get 
to a place of safety upon so wet a night. There was no lounger who 
could tell us who had passed. 

" Then we returned to the office, and searched the stairs and the 
passage without result. The corridor which led to the room was laid 
down with a kind of creamy linoleum which shows an impression 
very easily. We examined it very carefully, but found no outline of 
any footmark." 

" Had it been raining all the evening ? " 

" Since about seven." 

" How is it, then, that the woman who came into the room about 

nine left no traces with her muddy boots ? " 

" I am glad you raise the point. It occurred to me at the time. 



The charwomen are in the habit of taking off their boots at the 
commissionaire's office, and putting on hst shppers." 

" That is very clear. There were no marks, then, though the 
night was a wet one ? The chain of events is certainly one of 
extraordinary interest. What did you do next ? " 

" We examined the room also. There was no possibility of a 
secret door, and the windows are quite thirty feet from the ground. 
Both of them were fastened on the inside. The carpet prevents any 
possibility of a trap-door, and the ceiling is of the ordinary white- 
washed kind. I will pledge my life that whoever stole my papers 
could only have come through the door." 

" How about the fireplace ? " 

" They use none. There is a stove. The bell-rope hangs from 
the wire just to the right of my desk. Whoever rang it must have 
come right up to the desk to do it. But why should any criminal 
wish to ring the bell ? It is a most insoluble mystery." 

" Certainly the incident was unusual. What were your next 
steps ? You examined the room, I presume, to see if the intruder had 
left any traces — any cigar end, or dropped glove, or hairpin, or other 
trifle ? " 

" There was nothing of the sort." 

" No smell ? " 

" Well, we never thought of that." 

" Ah, a scent of tobacco would have been worth a great deal to us 
in such an investigation." 

" I never smoke myself, so I think I should have observed it if 
there had been any smell of tobacco. There was absolutely no clue 
of any kind. The only tangible fact was that the commissionaire's 
wife — Mrs. Tangey was the name — had hurried out of the place. He 
could give no explanation save that it was about the time when the 
woman always went home. The policeman and I agreed that our 
best plan would be to seize the woman before she could get rid of the 
oapers, presuming that she had them. 

" The alarm had reached Scotland Yard b\' this time, and Mr. 
Forbes, the detective, came round at once and took up the case with a 
great deal of energy. We hired a hansom, and in half an hour we 
were at the address which had been given to us. A young woman 



opened the door, who proved to be Mrs. Tangey's eldest daughter. 
Her mother had not come back yet, and we were shown into the front 
room to wait. 

" About ten minutes later a knock came at the door, and here we 
made the one serious mistake for which I blame myself. Instead of 
opening the door ourselves we allowed the girl to do so. We heard 
her say, ' Mother, there are two men in the house waiting to see you,' 
and an instant afterwards we heard the patter of feet rushing down 
the passage. Forbes flung open the door, and we both ran into the 
back room or kitchen, but the woman had got there before us. She 
stared at us with defiant eyes, and then suddenly recognising me, an 
expression of absolute astonishment came over her face. 

" ' Why, if it isn't Mr. Phelps, of the office ! ' she cried. 


" ' Come, come, who did you think we were when you ran away 
from us ? ' asked my companion. 

" ' I thought you were the brokers,' said she. ' We've had some 
trouble with a tradesman.' 


" ' That's not quite good enough,' answered Forbes. ' We have 
reason to beheve that you have taken a paper of importance from the 
Foreign Office, and that you ran in here to dispose of it. You must 
come back with us to Scotland Yard to be searched.' 

" It was in vain that she protested and resisted. A four-wheeler 
was brought, and we all three drove back in it. We had first made 
an examination of the kitchen, and especially of the kitchen fire, to 
see whether she might have made away with the papers during the 
instant that she was alone. There were no signs, however, of any 
ashes or scraps. When we reached Scotland Yard she was handed 
over at once to the female searcher. I waited in an agony of 
suspense until she came back with her report. There were no signs 
of the papers. 

" Then, for the first time, the horror of my situation came in its 
full force upon me. Hitherto I had been acting, and action had 
num.bed thought. I had been so confident of regaining the treaty at 
once that I had not dared to think of what would be the consequence 
if I failed to do so. But now there was nothing more to be done, 
and I had leisure to realize my position. It was horrible ! Watson 
there would tell you that I was a nervous, sensitive boy at school. It 
is m\' nature. I thought of my uncle and of his colleagues in the 
Cabinet, of the sharae which I had brought upon him, upon m}'self, 
upon everyone connected with me. What though I was the victim 
of an extraordinary accident ? No allowance is made for accidents 
where diplomatic interests are at stake. I was ruined ; shamefully, 
hopelessly ruined. I don't know what I did. I fancy I must hav-e 
made a scene. I have a dim recollection of a group of officials who 
crowded round me endeavouring to soothe me. One of them drove 
down with me to Waterloo and saw me into the Woking train. I 
believe that he would have come all the way had it not been that Dr. 
Ferrier, who lives near me, was going down by that very train. The 
doctor most kindly took charge of me, and it was well he did so, for I 
had a fit in the station, and before we reached home I was practically 
a raving maniac. 

" You can imagine the state of thincrs here when thev were roused 
from their beds by the doctor's ringing, and found me in this con- 
dition. Poor Annie here and my mother were broken-hearted. Dr. 


Ferrier had just heard enough from the detective at the station to be 
able to give an idea of what had happened, and his story did not 
mend matters. It was evident to all that I was in for a long illness, 
so Joseph was bundled out of this cheery bedroom, and it was turned 
into a sick room for me. Here I have lain, Mr. Holmes, for over 
nine weeks, unconscious, and raving with brain fever. If it had not 
been for Miss Harrison here and for the doctor's care, I should not be 
speaking to you now. She has nursed me by day, and a hired nurse 
has looked after mc by night, for in my mad fits I was capable of 
anything. Slowly my reason has cleared, but it is only during the 
last three days that my memory has quite returned. Sometimes I 
wish that it never had. The first thing that I did was to wire to Mr. 
Forbes, who had the case in hand. He came out and assured me that, 
though everything has been done, no trace of a clue has been dis- 
covered. The commissionaire and his wife have been examined in 
every way without any light being thrown upon the matter. The 
suspicions of the police then rested upon young Gorot, who, as you 
may remember, stayed overtime in the office that night. His remain- 
ing behind and his French name were really the only two points 
which could suggest suspicion ; but as a matter of fact, I did not 
begin work until he had gone, and his people are of Huguenot 
extraction, but as English in sympathy and tradition as you and I 
are. Nothing was found to implicate him in any way, and there the 
matter dropped. I turn to you, Mr. Holmes, as absolutely my last 
hope. If you fail me, then my honour as well as my position are for 
ever forfeited." 

The invalid sank back upon his cushions, tired out by this long 
recital, while his nurse poured him out a glass of some stimulating 
medicine. Holmes sat silently with his head thrown back and his 
eyes closed in an attitude which might seem listless to a stranger, but 
which I knew betokened the most intense absorption. 

" Your statement has been so explicit," said he at last, " that you 
have really left me very few questions to ask. There is one of the 
very utmost importance, however. Did }-ou tell anyone that )^ou had 
this special task to perform ? " 

" No one." 
■ " Not Miss Harrison here, for example ? " 



" No. I had not been back to Woking between getting the order 
and executing the commission." 

" And none of your people had by chance been to see you ? " 

" None." 

" Did any of them know their way about in the office? " 

"Oh, yes ; all of them had been shown over it." 

" Still, of course, if you said nothing to anyone about the treaty, 
these inquiries are irrelevant." 

" I said nothing." 

" Do you know anything of the commissionaire ? " 

" Nothing, except that he is an old soldier." 

" What regiment ? " 

" Oh, I have heard— Cold- 
• stream Guards." 

" Thank you. I have no 
doubt I can get details from 
Forbes. The authorities are ex- 
cellent at amassing facts, though 
they do not always use them to 
advantage. What a lovely thing 
a rose is ! " 

He walked past the couch 
to the open window, and held 
up the drooping stalk of a moss 
rose, looking down at the dainty 
blend of crimson and green. It 
was a new phase of his character 
to me, for I had never before seen 
him show any keen interest in 
natural objects. 

" There is nothing in which 
deduction is so necessary as in 
religion," said he, leaning with 
his back against the shutters. 
" It can be built up as an exact 
science by the reasoner. Our 
highest assurance of the goodness 



of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other thine^s, 
our powers, our desires, our food, are really necessary for our existence 
in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its 
colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only 
goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much 
to hope from the flowers." 

Percy Phelps and his nurse looked at Holmes during this 
demonstration with surprise and a good deal of disappointment 
written upon their faces. He had fallen into a reverie, with the moss 
rose between his fingers. It had lasted some minutes before the 
young lady broke in upon it. 

" Do you see any prospect of solving this mystery, Mr. Holmes ? " 
she asked, with a touch of asperity in her voice. 

" Oh, the mystery ! " he answered, coming back with a start to 
the realities of life. " Well, it would be absurd to deny that the case 
is a very abstruse and complicated one ; but I can promise you that 
I will look into the matter and let }'ou know any points which may 
strike me." 

" Do you see any clue ? " 

" You have furnished me with .seven, but of course I must test 
them before I can pronounce upon their value." 

" You suspect someone ? " 

" I suspect myself " 

" What ? " 

" Of coming to conclusions too rapidly." 

" Then go to London and test your conclusions." 

" Your advice is very excellent. Miss Harrison," said Holmes, 
rising. " I think, Watson, we cannot do better. Do not allow 
yourself to indulge in false hopes, Mr. Phelps. The affair is .a very 
tangled one." 

" I shall be in a fever until I see you again," cried the diplomatist. 

" Well, I'll come out by the same train to-morrow, though it's 
more than likely that my report will be a negative one." 

" God bless you for promising to come," cried our client. " It 
gives me fresh life to know that something is being done. By the 
way, I have had a letter from Lord Holdhurst." 

" Ha ! What did he say ? " 


" He was cold, but not harsh. I daresay my severe illness 
prevented him from being that. He repeated that the matter was of 
the utmost importance, and added that no steps would be taken about 
my future — by which he means, of course, my dismissal — until my 
health was restored and I had an opportunity of repairing my 

" Well, that was reasonable and considerate," said Holmes. 
" Come, Watson, for we have a good day's work before us in town." 

Mr. Joseph Harrison drove us down to the station, and we were 
soon whirling up in a Portsmouth train. Holmes was sunk in pro- 
found thought, and hardly opened his mouth until we had passed 
Clapham Junction. 

" It's a very cheering thing to come into London by any of these 
lines which run high and allow you to look down upon the houses 
like this." 

I thought he was joking, for the view was sordid enough, but he 
soon explained himself 



" Look at those big, isolated clumps of building rising up above 
the slates, like brick islands in a lead-coloured sea." 

" The Board schools." 

" Lighthouses, my boy ! Beacons of the future ! Capsules, with 
hundreds of bright little seeds in each, out of which will spring the 
wiser, better England of the future. I suppose that man Phelps does 
not drink ? " 

" I should not think so." 

" Nor should I. But we are bound to take every possibility into 
account. The poor devil has certainly got himself into very deep 
water, and it's a question whether we shall ever be able to get him 
ashore. What did you think of Miss Harrison ? " 

" A girl of strong character." 

" Yes, but she is a good sort, or I am mistaken. She and her brother 
are the only children of an ironmaster somewhere up Northumber- 
land way. Phelps got engaged to her when travelling last winter, 
and she came down to be introduced to his people, with her brother 
as escort. Then came the smash, and she stayed on to nurse her lover, 
while brother Joseph, finding himself pretty snug, stayed on too. I've 
been making a few independent inquiries, you see. But to-day must 
be a day of inquiries." 

" My practice " I began. 

" Oh, if }'ou find your own cases more interesting than mine " 

said Holmes, with some asperity. 

" I was going to say that my practice could get along very well 
for a day or two, since it is the slackest time in the year." 

" Excellent ! " said he, recovering his good humour. " Then we'll 
look into this matter together. I think that we should begin by 
seeing Forbes. He can probably tell us all the details we want, until 
we know from what side the case is to be approached." 

" You said you had a clue." 

" Well, we have several, but we can only test their value by 
further inquir}-. The most difficult crime to track is the one which 
is purposeless. Now, this is not purposeless. Who is it that profits by 
it ? There is the French Ambassador, there is the Russian, there is 
whoever might sell it to either of these, and there is Lord Holdhurst." 

" Lord Holdhurst ! " 


" Well, it is just conceivable that a statesman might find himself 
in a position where he was not sorry to have such a document 
accidentally destroyed." 

" Not a statesman with the honourable record of Lord 

" It is a possibility, and we cannot afford to disregard it. We 
shall see the noble lord to-day, and find out if he can tell us anything. 
Meanwhile, I have already set incjuiries upon foot." 

" Already ? " 

" Yes, I sent wires from Woking Station to every evening paper 
in London. This advertisement will appear in each of them." 

He handed over a sheet torn from a note-book. On it was 
scribbled in pencil : — 

'" £\o Reward. — The number of the cab which dropped a fare 
at or about the door of the Foreign Office in Charles Street, at 
a quarter to ten in the evening of May 23rd. Apply 22 IB, Baker 

" You are confident that the thief came in a cab ? " 

"If not, there is no harm done. But if Mr. Phelps is correct in 
stating that there is no hiding-place either in the room or the 
corridors, then the person must have come from outside. If he came 
from outside on so wet a night, and yet left no trace of damp upon 
the linoleum which was examined within a few minutes of his pass- 
ing, then it is exceedingly probable that he came in a cab. Yes, I 
think that we may safely deduce a cab." 

" It sounds plausible." 

" That is one of the clues of which I spoke. It may lead us to 
something. And then, of course, there is the bell — which is the most 
distinctive feature of the case. Why should the bell ring? Was it 
the thief that did it out of bravado ? Or was it someone who was 
with the thief who did it in order to prevent the crime ? Or was it 
an accident? Or was it ^ — ?" He sank back into the state of 
intense and silent thought from which he had emerged, but it seemed 
to me, accustomed as I was to his every mood, that some new possi- 
bility had dawned suddenly upon him. 

It was twenty past three when we reached our terminus, and after 
a hasty luncheon at the buffet we pushed on at once to Scotland 


Yard. Holmes had already wired to Forbes, and we found him wait- 
ing to receive us : a small, foxy man, with a sharp but by no means 
amiable expression. He was decidedly frigid in his manner to us, 
especially when he heard the errand upon which we had come. 

" I've heard of }'our methods before now, Mr. Holmes," said he, 


tartly. " You are ready enough to use all the information that the 
police can lay at your disposal, and then you try to finish the case 
yourself and bring discredit upon them." 

" On the contrary," said Holmes ; " out of my last fifty-three 
cases my name has only appeared in four, and the police have had all 
the credit in forty-nine. I don't blame you for not knowing this, for 
you are young and inexperienced ; but if }'ou wish to get on in your 
new duties you will work with me, and not against me." 


" I'd be very glad of a liint or two," said the detective, changing 
his manner. " I've certainly had no credit from the case so far." 

" What steps have you taken ? " 

" Tangey, the commissionaire, has been shadowed. He left the 
Guards with a good character, and we can find nothing against him. 
His wife is a bad lot, though. I fancy she knows more about this 
than appears." 

" Have you shadowed her ? " 

" We have set one of our women on to her. Mrs. Tangey drinks, 
and our woman has been with her twice when she was well on, but 
she could get nothing out of her." 

" I understand that they have had brokers in the house ? " 

" Yes, but they were paid off." 

" Where did the money come from ? " 

"That was all right. His pension was due ; they have not shown 
any sign of being in funds." 

" What explanation did she give of having answered the bell 
when Mr. Phelps rang for the coffee?" 

" She said that her husband was very tired and she wished to 
relieve him." 

" Well, certainly that would agree with his being found, a little 
later, asleep in his chair. There is nothing against them, then, but 
the woman's character. Did you ask her why she hurried away that 
night ? Her haste attracted the attention of the police-constable." 

" She was later than usual, and wanted to get home." 

" Did you point out to her that you and Mr. Phelps, who started 
at least twenty minutes after her, got home before her ? " 

" She explains that by the difference between a 'bus and a 

" Did she make it clear why, on reaching her house, she ran into 
the back kitchen ? " 

" Because she had the money there with which to pay off the 

" She has at least an answer for ever\'thing. Did }-ou ask her 
whether in leaving she met anyone or saw anj-onc loitering about 
Charles Street ? " 

" She saw no one but the constable." 


" Well, you seem to have cross-examined her pretty thoroughly. 
What else have you done ? " 

" The clerk, Gorot, has been shadowed all these nine weeks, but 
without result. We can show nothing against him." 

" Anything else? " 

" Well, we have nothing else to go upon — no evidence of any 

" Have you formed any theory about how that bell rang?" 

'' Well, I must confess that it beats me. It was a cool hand, who- 
ever it was, to go and give the alarm like that." 

" Yes, it was a queer thing to do. Many thanks to you for what 
you have told me. If I can put the man into your hands \-ou shall 
hear from me. Come along, Watson ! " 

" Where are we going to now ? " I asked, as we left the office. 

" We are now going to interview Lord Holdhurst, the Cabinet 
Minister and future Premier of England." 

We were fortunate in finding that Lord Holdhurst was still in his 
chambers at Downing Street, and on Holmes sending in his card 
we were instantlx' shown up. The statesman received us with that 
old-fashioned courtesy for which he is remarkable, and seated us on 
the two luxurious easy chairs on either side of the fireplace. Standing 
on the rug between us, with his slight, tall figure, his sharp-featured, 
thoughtful face, and his curling hair prematurely tinged with grey, he 
seemed to represent that not too common t}-pc, a nobleman who is in 
truth noble. 

" Your name is very familiar to me, Mr. Holmes," said he, 
smiling. " And, of course, I cannot pretend to be ignorant of the 
object of your visit. There has only been oiie occurrence in these 
offices which could call for your attention. In whose interest are }'ou 
acting, may I ask ? " 

" In that of Mr. Percy Phelps," answered Holmes. 

" Ah, my unfortunate nephew ! You can understand that our 
kinship makes it the more impossible for me to screen him in an}- 
way. I fear that the incident must have a very prejudicial effect 
upon his career." 

" But if the document is found ? " 

" Ah, that, of course, would be different." 




-^^W" It III M 


" I had one or two questions which I wislied to ask you, Lord 

" I shall be happy to give you any information in my power." 

" Was it in tliis room that you gave your instructions as to the 
copying of the document ? " 

" It was." 

" Then you could hardly have been overheard ? " 

■' It is out of the question." 

" Did you ever mention to anyone that it was your intention to 
give out the treaty to be copied ? " 

" Never." 

" You are certain of that ? " 

" Absolutely.' 

" Well, since you never said so, and Mr. Phelps never said so, and 


nobody else knew anything of the matter, then the thief's presence in 
the room was purely accidental. He saw his chance and he took it." 

The statesman smiled. " You take me out of my province 
there," said he. 

Holmes considered for a moment. " There is another very 
important point which I wish to discuss with you," said he. " You 
feared, as I understand, that very grave results might follow from the 
details of this treaty becoming known ? " 

A shadow passed over the expressive face of the statesman. 
" Very grave results, indeed." 

" And have they occurred ? " 

" Not yet." 

"If the treaty had reached, let us say, the French or Russian 
Foreign Office, you would expect to hear of it ? " 

" I should," said Lord Holdhurst, with a wry face. 

" Since nearly ten weeks have elapsed then, and nothing has been 
heard, it is not unfair to suppose that for some reason the treaty has 
not reached them ? '' 

Lord Holdhurst shrugged his shoulders. 

" We can hardly suppose, Mr. Holmes, that the thief took the 
treaty in order to frame it and hang it up." 

" Perhaps he is waiting for a better price." 

" If he waits a little longer he will get no price at all. The treats- 
will cease to be a secret in a few months." 

" That is most important," said Holmes. " Of course it is a 
possible supposition that the thief has had a sudden illness " 

" An attack of brain fever, for example ? " asked the statesman, 
flashing a swift glance at him. 

" I did not say so," said Holmes, imperturbably. " /\nd now. 
Lord Holdhurst, we have already taken up too much of }'our valuable 
time, and we shall wish you good-da}'." 

" Every success to your investigation, be the criminal who it 
may," answered the nobleman, as he bowed us out at the door. 

" He's a fine fellow," said Holmes, as we came out into Whitehall 
" But he has a struggle to keep up his position. He is far from rich, 
and has many calls. You noticed, of course, that his boots had been 
re-soled? Now, Watson, I won't detain you from your legitimate 



work any longer. I shall do nothing more to-day, unless I have an 
answer to my cab advertisement. But I should be extremely obliged 
to you if you would come down with mc to Woking to-morrow, by 
the same train which we took to-day." 

I met him accordingly next morning, and we travelled down to 
Woking together. He had had no answer to his advertisement, he 
said, and no fresh light had been thrown upon the case. He had, 
when he so willed it, the utter immobility of countenance of a Red 
Indian, and I could not gather from his appearance \\'hether he was 
satisfied or not with the position of the case. His conversation, I 
remicmber, was about ^the Bertillon system of measurements, and he 
expressed his enthusiastic admiration of the French savant. 

We found our client still under the charge of his devoted nurse, 
but looking considerably better than before. He rose from the 
sofa and greeted us without difficulty when we entered. 

" Any news ? " he asked, eagerh-. 



" My report, as I expected, is a negati\'e one," said Holmes. " I 
have seen Forbes, and I have seen your uncle, and I have set one or 
two trains of inquirx' upon foot which ma}' lead to something." 

" You have not lost heart, then ? " 

" By no means." 

" God bless \-ou for saying that I " cried Miss Harrison. " If we 
keep our courage and our patience, the truth must come out." 

" We have more to tell you than you have for us," said Phelps, 
reseating himself upon the couch. 

" I hoped you might have something." 

" Yes, we have had an adventure during the night, and one 
which might have proved to be a serious one." -His expression grew 
very grave as he spoke, and a look of something akin to fear sprang 
up in his eyes. " Do you know," said he, " that I begin to believe 
that I am the unconscious centre of some monstrous conspiracy, 
and that ni}^ life is aimed at as well as my honour ? " 

" Ah ! " cried Holmes. 

" It sounds incredible, for I have not, as far as I know, an enemy 
in the world. Yet from last night's experience I can come to no 
other conclusion." 

" Pray let me hear it." 

" You must know that last night was the very first night that 
I have ever slept without a nurse in the room. I was so much better 
that I thought I could dispense with one. I had a night-light 
burning, however. Well, about two in the morning I had sunk into a 
light sleep, when I was suddenly aroused by a slight noise. It was 
like the sound which a mouse makes when it is gnawing a plank, and 
I lay listening to it for some time under the impression that it must 
come from that cause. Then it grew louder, and suddenly there came 
from the window a sharp metallic snick. I sat up in amazement. 
There could be no doubt what the sounds were now. The faint ones 
had been caused by someone forcing an instrument through the slit 
between the sashes, and the second by the catch being pressed back. 

'■ There was a pause then for about ten minutes, as if the person 

were waiting to see whether the noise had awoken me. Then I 

heard a gentle creaking as the window was very slowly opened. I 

could stand it no longer, for my nerves are not what they used to be. 



I sprang out of bed and flung open the shutters. A man was crouching 
at the window. I could see little of him, for he' was gone like a flash. 
He was wrapped in some sort of cloak, which came across the lower 
part of his face. One thing only I am sure of, and that is that he 
had some weapon in his hand. It looked to me like a long knife. I 
distinctly saw the gleam of it as he turned to run." 

" This IS most interesting," said Holmes. " Pray, what did you 
do then ? " 

" I should have followed him through the open window if I had 
been stronger. As it was, I rang the bell and roused the house. It 
took me some little time, for the bell rings in the kitchen, and the 
servants all sleep upstairs. I shouted, however, and that brought 
Joseph down, and he roused the others. Joseph and the groom found 
marks on the flower-bed outside the window, but the weather has 
been so dry lately that they found it hopeless to follow the trail 
across the grass. There's a place, however, on the wooden fence which 
skirts the road which shows signs, they tell me, as if someone had got 
over and had snapped the top of the rail in doing so. I have said 
nothing to the local police yet, for I thought I had best have your 
opinion first." 

This tale of our client's appeared to have an extraordinary effect 
upon Sherlock Holmes. He rose from his chair and paced about the 
room in incontrollable excitement. 

" Misfortunes never come singly," said Phelps, smiling, though it 
was evident that his adventure had somewhat shaken him. 

" You have certainly had your share," said Holmes. " Do you 
think you could walk round the house with me ? " 

" Oh, yes, I should like a little sunshine. Joseph will come too." 

" And I also," said Miss Harrison. 

" I am afraid not," said Holmes, shaking his head. " I think I 
must ask you to remain sitting exactly where you are." 

The young lady resumed her seat with an air of displeasure. 
Her brother, however, had joined us, and we set off all four together. 
We passed round the lawn to the outside of the young diplomatist's 
window. There were, as he had said, marks upon the flower-bed, 
but they were hopelessly blurred and vague. Holmes stooped over 
them for an instant, and then rose, shrugging his shoulders. 


" I don't think anyone could make much of this," said he. " Let 
us go round the house and see why this particular r(jom was chosen 
by the burglar. I should have thought those larger windows of the 
drawing-room and dining-room would have had more attractions for 

" They are more visible from the road," suggested Mr. Joseph 

" Ah, yes, of course. There is a door here which he might have 
attempted. What is it for ? " 

" It is the side entrance for tradespeople. Of course, it is locked 
at night." 

" Have you ever had an alarm like this before ? " 

" Never," said our client. 

" Do you keep plate in the house, or anything to attract 
burglars ? " 

" Nothing of value." 

Holmes strolled round the house with his hands in his pockets, 
and a negligent air which was unusual with him. 

"By the way," said he to Joseph Harrison, "you found some 
place, I understand, where the fellow scaled the fence. Let us have a 
look at that." 

The young man led us to a spot where the top of one of 
the wooden rails had been cracked. A small fragment of the 
wood was hanging down. Holmes pulled it off and examined it 

" Do you think that was done last night ? It looks rather old, 
does it not ? " 

" Well, possibly so." 

" There are no marks of anyone jumping down upon the other 
side. No, I fancy we shall get no help here. Let us go back to the 
bedroom and talk the matter over." 

Percy Phelps was walking very slowly, leaning upon the arm of 
his future brother-in-law. Holmes walked swiftly across the lawn, 
and we were at the open window of the bedroom long before 
the others came up. 

" Miss Harrison," said Holmes, speaking with the utmost intensity 
of manner, " you must stay where you are all day. Let nothing 



prevent you from staying where you are all day. It is of most vital 

" Certainly, if you wish it, Mr. Holmes," said the girl, in astonish- 

" When you go to bed lock the door of this room on the outside 
and keep the key. Promise to do this." 

" But Percy ? " 


•' He will come to London with us." 

" And I am to remain here ? " 

"It is for his sake. You can serve him ! Quick ! Promise ! " 

She gave a nod of assent just as the other two came up. 


" Why do you sit moping there, Annie ? " cried her brother. 
" Come out into the sunshine ! " 

" No, thank you, Joseph. I have a sUght headache, and this 
room is deHciously cool and soothing." 

" What do you propose now, Mr. Holmes ? " asked our client. 

" Well, in investigating this minor affair we must not lose sight of 
our main inquir)^ It would be a very great help to me if you would 
come up to London with us." 

" At once ? " 

" W^ell, as soon as }'ou conveniently can. Say in an hour." 

" I feel quite strong enough, if I can really be of an)- help." 

" The greatest possible." 

" Perhaps yow would like mc to stay there to-night ? " 

" I was just going to propose it.' 

" Then if my friond of the flight comes to revisit me, he will find 
the bird flown. We are all in }'our hands, Mr. Holmes, and )'ou must 
tell us exactly what you would like done. Perhaps you would prefer 
that Joseph came with us, so as to look after me ? " 

" Oh, no ; m}' friend Watson is a medical man, you know, and 
he"il look after you. We'll have our lunch here-, if you will permit us, 
and then we shall all three set off for town together." 

It was arranged as he suggested, though Miss Harrison excused 
herself from leaving the bedroom, in accordance with Holmes's sug- 
gestion. What the object of m}' friend's manoeuvres was I could not 
conceive, unless it w^ere to keep the lady away frora Phelps, who, 
rejoiced by his returning health and by the prospect of action, lunched 
with us in the dining-room. Holmes had a still more startling 
surprise for us, however, for after accompanying us down to the 
station and seeing us into our carriage, he calmly announced that he 
had no intention of leaving Woking. 

" There arc one or two small points which I should desire to 
clear up before I go," said he. " Your absence, Mr. Phelps, will in 
some ways rather assist me. Watson, when you reach London you 
would oblige me by driving at once to Baker Street with our friend 
here, and remaining with him until I see you again. It is fortunate 
that you arc old schoolfellows, as }'OU must have much to talk over. 
Mr. Phelps can have the spare bedroom to-night, and I shall be with 



you in time for breakfast, for there is a train which will take me into 
Waterloo at eight." 

" But how about our investigation in London ? " asked Phelps, 

" We can do that to-morrow. I think that just at present I can 
be of more immediate use here." 

" You might tell them at Briarbrae that I hope to be back to- 
morrow night," cried Phelps, as we began to move from the platform. 

" I hardly expect to go back to Briarbrae," answered Holmes, 
and waved his hand to us cheerily as we shot out from the station. 



Phelps and I talked it over on our journey, but neithsr of us 
could devise a satisfactory reason for this new development. 

" I suppose he wants to find out some clue as to the burglary last 
night, if a burglar it was. For myself, I don't believe it was an 
ordinary thief." 

" What is your idea, then ? " 

" Upon m)' word, }'ou may put it down to my weak nerves or 
not, but I believe there is some deep political intrigue going on 
around me, and that, for some reason that passes my understanding, 
my life is aimed at b}- the conspirators. It sounds high-flown and 
absurd, but consider the facts ! Why should a thief try to break in 
at a bedroom window, where there could be no hope of any plunder, 
and why should he come with a long knife in his hand ? " 

" You are sure it was not a housebreaker's jemmy ? " 

" Oh, no ; it was a knife. I saw the flash of the blade quite 

" But wh\' on earth should )'ou be pursued with such animosity ? " 

" Ah ! that is the question." 

■' Well, if Holmes takes the same view, that would account for his 
action, would it not ? Presuming that your theory is correct, if he can 
lay his hands upon the man who threatened you last night, he will 
have gone a long way towards finding who took the naval treat)'. It 
is absurd to suppose that }'ou have two enemies, one of whom robs 
you while the other threatens your life." 

" But Mr. Holmes said that he was not going to Briarbrae." 

" I have known him for some time," said I, "but I never knew 
him do anything yet without a very good reason." and with that our 
conversation drifted off into other topics. 

But it was a weary day for me. Phelps was still weak after his 
long illness, and his misfortunes made him querulous and nervous. 
In vain I endeavoured to interest him in Afghanistan, in India, in 
social questions, in anything which might take his mind out of the 
groove. He would alwaj's come back to his lost treat}' ; wondering, 
guessing, speculating as to what Holmes was doing, what steps Lord 
Holdhurst was taking, what news we should have in the morning. As 
the evening wore on, his excitement became quite painful. 

" You have implicit faith in Holmes ? " he asked. 


" I have seen him do some remarkable things." 

" But he never brought hght into anything quite so dark as this? " 

" Oh, yes ; I have known him solve questions which oresented 
fewer clues than yours." 

" But not where such large interests are at stake ? " 

" I don't know that. To my certain knowledge he has acted on 
behalf of three of the reigning Houses of Europe in ver\' \-ital 

" But you know him ^^'ell, Watson. He is such an inscrutable 
fellow, that I never quite know what to make of him. Do }'ou think 
he is hopeful ? Do you think hs expects to make a success of it ? " 

" He has said nothing." 

" That is a bad sign." 

" On the contrar}', I have noticed that when he is off the trail he 
generally says so. It is when he is on a scent, and is not quite 
absolutely sure yet that it is tlie right one, that he is most taciturn. 
Now, my dear -fellow, we can't help matters by making ourselves 
nervous about them, so let me implore \^ou to go to bed, and so be 
fresh for whatever may await us to-morrow." 

I was able at last to persuade my companion to take my advice, 
though I knew from his excited manner that there was not much 
hope of sleep for him. Indeed, his mood was infectious, for I lay 
tossing half the night mj'self, brooding over this strange problem, 
and inventing a hundred theories, each of which was more impossible 
than the last. Why had Holmes remained at Woking ? Why had 
he asked Miss Harrison to stay in the sick room all day ? Why 
had he been so careful not to inform the people at Briarbrae that he 
intended to remain near them ? I cudgelled my brains until I fell 
asleep in the endeavour to find some explanation which would cover 
all these facts. 

It was seven o'clock when I awoke, and I set off at once for 
Phelps's room, to find him haggard and spent after a sleepless night. 
His first question was whether Holmes had arrived yet. 

" He'll be here when he promised," said I, " and not an instant 
sooner or later." 

.'\nd my words were true, for shortK' after eight a hansom dashed 
up to the door and our friend got out of it. Standing in the window, 


we saw that his left hand was swathed in a bandage and that his face 
was very grim and pale. He entered the house, but it was some 
little time before he came upstairs. 

" He looks like a beaten man," cried Phelps. 

I was forced to confess that he was right. " After all," said I, 
" the cLue of the matter lies probabh' here in town." 

Phelps gave a groan. 

" I don't know how it is," said he, " but I had hoped for so much 
from his return. But surely his hand was not tied up like that yester- 
day ? What can be the matter ? " 

" You are not wounded, Holmes ? " I asked, as my friend entered 
the room. 

" Tut, it is only a scratch through my own clumsiness," he 
answered, nodding his good morning to us. " This case of yours, 
Mr. Phelps, is certainly one of the darkest which I have e\"er 

" I feared that }ou would find it be}'oncl }'ou." 

" It has been a most remarkable experience." 

" That bandage tells of adventures," said I. " Won't you tell us 
what has happened ? " 

" After breakfast, my dear Watson. Remember that I have 
breathed thirty miles of Surrey air this morning. I suppose there 
has been no answer to m\' cabman advertisement? Well, well, wc 
cannot expect to score every time." 

The table was all laid', and, just as I was about to ring, Mrs. 
Hudson entered with the tea and coffee. A few minutes later she 
brought in the covers, and we all drew up to the table. Holmes 
ravenous, I curious, and Phelps in the gloomiest state of depression. 

" Mrs. Hudson has risen to the occasion," said Holmes, uncover- 
ing a dish of curried chicken. " Her cuisine is a little limited, but she 
has as good an idea of breakfast as a Scotchwoman. What have you 
there, Watson ? " 

" Ham and eggs," I answered. 

" Good ! WHiat are you going to take, Mr. Phelps : curried fowl, 
eggs, or will you help yourself? " 

" Thank you, I can eat nothing," said Phelps. 

" Oh, come ! Tr\- the dish before \'ou," 



" Thank you, I would really rather not." 

" Well, then," said Holmes, with a mischievous twinkle, " I suppose 
that you have no objection to helping me ? " 

Phelps raised the cover, and as he did so he uttered a scream, 

\ ) 


and sat there staring with a face as white as the plate upon which he 
looked. Across the centre of it was lying a little cylinder of blue- 
grey paper. He caught it up, devoured it with his eyes, and then 
danced madly about the room, pressing it to his bosom and shrieking 
out in his delight. Then he fell back into an arm-chair, so limp and 
exhausted with his own emotions that we had to pour brandy down 
his throat to keep him from fainting. 

" There ! there ! " said Holmes, soothingly, patting him upon the 
shoulder. " It was too bad to spring it on }'ou like this ; but 
Watson here will tell you that I never can resist a touch of the 

Phelps seized his hand and kissed it. " God bless )-ou ! " he 
cried ; " you have saved ni)' honour." 

" Well, my own was at stake, }'OU know," said Holmes. " I assure 
you, it is just as hateful to me to fail in a case as it can be to you to 
blunder over a commission." 



Phelps thrust a\va\' the precious document into the innermost 
pocket of his coat. 

" I have not the heart to interrupt your breakfast any. further, 
and yet I am dying to know how you got it and where it was." 

Sherlock Holmes swallowed a cup of coffee and turned his 
attention to the ham and eggs. Then he ro ;c, lit his pipe, and settled 
himself down into his chair. 

" I'll tell }-ou \\hat I did first, and how I came to do it afterwards," 
said he. " After leaving }^ou at the station I went for a charming walk 
through some admirable Surrey scenery to a pretty little village called 
Riple}', where I had my tea at an inn, and took the precaution of 
filling my flask and of putting a paper of sandwiches in my pocket. 
There I remained until evening, when I set off for Woking again 
and found m}'self in the high road outside Briarbrae just after 

" Well, I waited until the road was clear— it is never a ver\- 
frequented one at any time, I fanc\' — and then I clambered over the 
fence into the grounds." 

" Surely the gate was open ? " ejaculated Phelps. 

" Yes ; but I have a peculiar taste in these matters. I chose the 
place where the three fir trees stand, and behind their screen I got 
o\er without the least chance of anyone in the house beinsf able to 
see me. I crouched down among the bushes on the other side, and 
crawled from one to the other — -witness the disreputable state of m)- 
trouser knees — until I had reached the clump of rhododendrons just 
opposite to }-our bedroom window. There I squatted down and 
awaited developments 

" The blind was not down in your room, and I could see Miss 
Harrison sitting there reading by the tabic. It was a quarter past 
ten when she closed her book, fastened the shutters, and retired. I 
heard her shut the door, and felt quite sure that she had turned the 
key in the lock." 

" The key ? " ejaculated Phelps. 

" Yes, I had given Miss Harrison instructions to lock the door on 
the outside and take the key with her when she went to bed. She 
carried out every one of m}- injunctions to the letter, and certainly 
without her co-operation you would not have that paper in }'Our coat 



pocket. She departed then, the hghts went out, and 1 was left 
squatting in the rhododendron bush. 

" The night was fine, but still it was a very weary vigil. Of 
course, it has the sort of excitement about it that the sportsman feels 
when he lies beside the watercourse and waits for the big game. It 
was very long, though — almost as long, Watson, as when you and I 
waited in that deadly room when we looked into the little problem of 
the ' Speckled Band.' There was a church clock down at Woking 
which struck the quarters, and I thought more than once that it had 
stopped. At last, however, about two in the morning, I suddenly 
heard the gentle sound of a bolt being pushed back, and the creaking 
of a ke}\ A moment later the servants' door was opened and Mr. 
Joseph Harrison stepped out into the moonlight." 
" Joseph ! " ejaculated Phelps. 

" He was bare-headed, but he had a black cloak thrown over his 
.,™„,,,,„.^,.- iru'K'^s^^^^ shoulder, SO that he could conceal 

his face in an instant if there 
^^'cre any alarm. He ^valked on 
tip-toe under the shadow of the 
wall, and when he reached the 
window, he worked a long-bladed 
knife through the sash and 
pushed back the catch. Then 
he flung open the window and, 
putting his knife through the 
crack in the shutters, he thrust 
the bar up and swung them open. 
" From where I la}- I had 
a perfect view of the inside of 
the room and of every one of 
his movements. He lit the two 
candles which stand upon the 
mantelpiece, and then he pro- 
ceeded to turn back the corner 
of the carpet in the neighbour- 
hood of the door. Presentl)- he 
iosr,,„ uAKRisoN- sTErrF.n OUT. stooped and pickcd out a square 


-» C ^ 

piece of board, such as is usually left to enable plumbers to get at 
the joints of the gas pipes. This one covered, as a matter of fact, 
the T-joint which gives off the pipe which supplies the kitchen 
underneath. Out of this hiding-place he drew that little cylinder of 
paper, pushed down the board, rearranged the carpet, blew out the 
candles, and walked straight into my arms as I stood waiting for him 
outside the window. 

" Well, he has rather more viciousness than I gave him credit for, 
has Master Joseph. He flew at me with his knife, and I had to grass 
him twice, and got a cut over the knuckles, before 1 had the upper 
hand of him. He looked ' murder ' out of the only eye he could see 
with when we had finished, but he listened to reason and gave 
up the papers. Having got them I let my man go, but I wired full 
particulars to Forbes this morning. If he is quick enough to catch 
his bird, well and good ! But if, as I shrewdly suspect, he finds the 
nest empty before he gets there, wh\', all the better for the Govern- 
ment. [ fancy that Lord Holdhurst, for one, and Mr. Percy Phelps 
for another, would very much rather that the affair never got as far 
as a police-court." 

" My God ! " gasped our client. " Do you tell me that during 
these long ten weeks of agony, the stolen papers were within the very 
room with me all the time ? " 

" So it was." 

" And Joseph ! Joseph a villain and a thief! " 

" Hum ! I am afraid Joseph's character is a rather deeper and 
more dangerous one than one might judge from his appearance. P^rom 
what I have heard from him this morning, I gather that he has lost 
heavily in dabbling with stocks, and that he is ready to do anything 
on earth to better his fortunes. Being an absolutely selfish man, 
w^hen a chance presented itself he did not allow either his sister's 
happiness or your reputation to hold his hand." 

Percy Phelps sank back in his chair. " My head whirls," said 
he ; " your words have dazed me." 

" The principal difficulty in your case," remarked Holmes, in his 
didactic fashion, " lay in the fact of there being too much evidence. 
What was vital was overlaid and hidden by what was irrelevant. Of 
all the facts which were presented to us, we had to pick just those 


which we deemed to be essential, and then piece them together in 
their order, so as to reconstruct this very remarkable chain of events. 
I had already begun to suspect Joseph, from the fact that }-ou had 
intended to travel home with him that night, and that therefore it was 
a likely enough thing that he should call for you — knowing the 
Foreign Office well — upon his way. When I heard that someone had 
been so anxious to get into the bedroom, in which no one but Joseph 
could have concealed anything — you told us in your narrative how 
you had turned Joseph out when you arrived with the doctor — my 
suspicions all changed to certainties, especially as the attempt was 
made on the first night upon which the nurse was absent, showing 
that the intruder was well acquainted with the ways of the house." 

" How blind I have been ! " 

" The facts of the case, as far as I have worked them out, are 
these : This Joseph Harrison entered the office through the Charles 
Street door, and knowing his way he walked straight into your room 
the instant after you left it. Finding no one there he promptly rang 
the bell, and at the instant that he did so his eyes caught the paper 
upon the table. A glance showed him that chance had put in his 
way a State document of immense value, and in a flash he had 
thrust it into his pocket and was gone. A few minutes elapsed, as 
you remember, before the sleepy commissionaire drew your attention 
to the bell, and those were just enough to give the thief time to make 
his escape. 

" He made his way to Woking by the first train, and, having 
examined his booty and assured himself that it really was of immense 
value, he concealed it in what lie thought was a very safe place, with 
the intention of taking it out again in a day or two, and carr\'ing 
it to the French lunbassy, or wherever he thought that a long price 
was to be had. Then came your sudden return. He, without a 
moment's warning, was bundled out of his room, and from that time 
onwards there were always at least two of you there to prevent him 
from regaining his treasure. The situation to him must have been a 
maddening one. But at last he thought he saw his chance. He tried 
to steal in, but was baffled by your wakefulness. You may remember 
that you did not take your usual draught that night." 

" I remember." * 



" I fancy that he had taken steps to make that draught efficacious, 
and that he quite rehed upon your being unconscious. Of course, 
I understood that he would repeat the attempt whenever it 
could be done with safety. Your leaving the room gave him the 
chance he wanted. I kept Miss Harrison in it all day, so that he 
might not anticipate us. Then, having given him the idea that the 
coast was clear, 1 kept guard as 1 have described. I already 
knew that the papers were probably in the room, but I had no desire 
to rip up all the planking and skirting in search of them. I let him 
take them, therefore, from the hiding-place, and so saved myself an 
infinity of trouble. Is there any other point which I can make clear?" 


" Why did he try the window on the first occasion," I asked 
" when he might have entered by the door ? " 

" In reaching the door he would have to pass seven bedrooms. 
On the other hand, he could get out on to the lawn with ease. 
Anything else ? " 

" You do not think," asked Phelps, " that he had any murderous 
intention ? The knife was only meant as a tool." 

" It may be so," answered Holmes, shrugging his shoulders. " I 
can only say for certain that Mr. Joseph Harrison is a gentleman to 
whose mercy I should be extremelv unwilling to trust." 


T is with a heavy heart that I take up my pen to write 
these the last words in which I shall ever record the 
singular gifts by which iti\' friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes 
was distinguished. In an incoherent and, as I deeply 
feel, an entirely inadequate fashion, I have endeavoured 
to give some account of my strange experiences in his company from 
the chance which first brought us together at the period of the " Study 
in Scarlet," up to the time of his interference in the matter of the 
"Naval Treaty" — an interference which had the unquestionable 
effect of preventing a serious international complication. Jt was my 
intention to have stopped there, and to have said nothing of that event 
which has created a void in my life which the lapse of two years has 
done little to fill. My hand has been forced, however, by the recent 
letters in which Colonel James Moriarty defends the memory of his 
brother, and I have no choice but to lay the facts before the public 
exactly as they occurred. I alone know the absolute truth of the 
matter, and I am satisfied that the time has come when no good 
purpose is to be served by its suppression. As far as I know, there 
have be enonly three accounts in the public Press : that in the foiinml 
de Geneve upon May 6th, 1891, the Renter's despatch in the English 
papers upon May 7th, and finally the recent letters to which I have 
alluded. Of these the first and second were extremely condensed, 
while the last is, as I shall now show, an absolute perversion of the 
facts. It lies with me to tell for the first time what really took place 
between Professor Moriarty and Mr. Sherlock Holmes. 

It may be remembered that after my marriage, and my subse- 
quent start in private practice, the very intimate relations which had 
existed between Holmes and myself became to some extent modified. 


He still came to me from time to time when he desired a companion 
in his investigations, but these occasions grew more and more seldom, 
until I find that in the >'ear 1890 there were only three cases of which 
I retain any record. During the winter of that year and the early 
spring of 1891, I saw in the papers that he had been engaged by the 
French Government upon a matter of supreme importance, and I 
received two notes from Holmes, dated from Narbonne and from 
Nimes, from which I gathered that his stay in France was likely to be 
a long one. It was with some surprise, therefore, that I saw him walk 
into my consulting-room upon the evening of the 24th oi April. It 
struck me that he was looking even paler and thinner than usual. 

" Yes, I have been using myself up rather too freely," he remarked, 
in answer to my look rather than to my words ; " I have been a little 
pressed of late. Have }ou any objection to my closing your 
shutters ? " 

The only light in the room came from the lamp upon the table at 
which I had been reading. Holmes edged his way round the wall, 
and flinging the shutters together, he bolted them securely. 

" You are afraid of something ? " I asked. 

" Well, I am." 

"Of what?" 

" Of air-guns." 

" My dear Holmes, what do you mean ? " 

" I think that you know me well enough, Watson, to understand 
that I am by no means a nervous man. At the same time, it is 
stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognise danger when it is 
close upon >-ou. Might I trouble you for a match ? " He drew in the 
smoke of his cigarette as if the soothing influence was grateful to him. 

" I must apologize for calling so late," said he, " and I must 
further beg you to be so unconventional as to allow me to leave your 
house presentl)^ by scrambling over }-our back garden wall." 

" But what does it all mean ? " I asked. 

He held out his hand, and I saw in the light of the lamp that 
two of his knuckles were burst and bleeding. 

" It's not an airy nothing, you see," said he, smiling. " On the 
contrary, it is solid enough for a man to break his hand over. Is 

Mrs. Watson in ? " 





" She is a\\'ay upon a visit." 

" Indeed ! You are alone ? " 

" Quite." 

" Then it makes it the easier for me to propose that you should 
come away with me for a week on to the Continent." 

" Where ? " 

''' Oh, an\ where. It's all the same to me." 

There was something very strange in all this. It was not 
Holmes's nature to take an aimless holida)^ and something about his 
pale, worn face told mc that his nerves were at their highest tension. 
He saw the question in my eyes, and, putting his finger-tips together 
and his elbows upon his knees, he explained the situation. 

"You have probabl}' never heard of Professor Moriarty?" 
said he. 

" Never." 

" Aye, there's the genius and the wonder of the thing ! " he cried. 
" The man pervades London, and no one has heard of him. That's 
what puts him on a pinnacle in the records of crime. I tell you, 


Watson, in all seriousness, that if I could beat that man, if I could 
free society of him, I should feel that my own career had reached its 
summit, and I should be prepared to turn to some more placid line in 
life. Between ourselves, the recent cases in w^hich I have been of 
assistance to the Royal Family of Scandinavia, and to the French 
Republic, have left me in such a position that I could continue to live 
in the quiet fashion which is most congenial to me, and to concentrate 
my attention upon my chemical researches. But I could not rest, 
Watson, I could not sit quiet in my chair, if I thought that such a 
man as Professor Moriarty were walking the streets of London 

" What has he done, then ? " 

" His career has been an extraordinary one. He is a man of 
good birth and excellent education, endowed by Nature with a phe- 
nomenal mathematical faculty. At the age of twenty-one he wrote a 
treatise upon the Binomial Theorem, which has had a European 
vogue. On the strength of it, he won the Mathematical Chair at one 
of our smaller Universities, and had, to all appearance, a most brilliant 
career before him. But the man had hereditary tendencies of the 
most diabolical kind. A criminal strain ran in his blood, which, instead 
of being modified, was increased and rendered infinitely more dangerous 
by his extraordinary mental powers. Dark rumours gathered round 
him in the University town, and eventually he was compelled to 
resign his Chair and to come down to London, where he set up as an 
Army coach. So much is known to the world, but what I am telling 
you now is what I have myself discovered, 

" As you are aware, Watson, there is no one who knows the 
higher criminal world of London so well as I do. For years 
past I have continually been conscious of some power behind the 
malefactor, some deep organizing power which for ever stands in the 
way of the law, and throws its shield over the wrong-doer. Again 
and again in cases of the most varying sorts — forgery cases, robberies, 
murders — I have felt the presence of this force, and I have deduced 
its action in many of those undiscovered crimes in which I have not 
been personally consulted. For years I have endeavoured to break 
through the veil which shrouded it, and at last the time came 
when I seized my thread and followed it, until it led me, after a 


thousand cunning windings, to ex-Professor Moriarty of mathematical 

" He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of 
half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. 
He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain 
of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the centre of 
its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well 
every quiver of each of them. He does little himself He only 
plans. But his agents are numerous and splendidly organized. Is 
there a crime to be done, a paper to be abstracted, we will say, a 
house to be rifled, a man to be removed — -the word is passed to the 
Professor, the matter is organized and carried out. The agent may 
be caught. In that case money is found for his bail or his defence. 
But the central power which uses the agent is never caught — never 
so much as suspected. This was the organization which I deduced, 
Watson, and which I devoted my whole energy to exposing and 
breaking up. 

" But the Professor was fenced round with safeguards so cun- 
ningly devised that, do what I would, it seemed impossible to get 
evidence which could convict in a court of law. You know my 
powers, my dear Watson, and yet at the end of three months I was 
forced to confess that I had at last met an antagonist who was my 
intellectual equal. My horror at his crimes was lost in my admiration 
at his skill. But at last he made a trip — only a little, little trip — but 
it was more than he could afford, when I was so close upon him. I 
had my chance, and, starting from that point, I have woven my 
net round him until now it is all ready to close. In three days, that 
is to say on Monday next, matters will be ripe, and the Professor, 
with all the principal members of his gang, will be in the hands of 
the police. Then will come the greatest criminal trial of the century, 
the clearing up of over forty mysteries, and the rope for all of them — 
but if we move at all prematurely, you understand, they may slip out 
of our hands even at the last moment. 

" Now, if I could have done this without the knowledge of 
Professor Moriarty, all would have been well. But he was too wily 
for that. He saw every step which I took to draw my toils round 
him. Again and again he strove to break away, but I as often headed 



him off. I tell you, my friend, that if a detailed account of that silent 
contest could be written, it would take its place as the most brilliant 
bit of thrust-and-parry work in the history of detection. Never have 
I risen to such a height, and never ha\e I been so hard pressed by an 
opponent. He cut deep, and yet I just undercut him. This morning 
the last steps were taken, and three days only w^ere wanted to com- 
plete the business. I was sitting in my room thinking the matter 
over, when the door opened and Professor Moriarty stood before me. 

'' My nerves are fairly 
proof, Watson, but I must ■■BSBHRHsuwmPfJin.w ^ mi. 

confess to a start when I 
saw the very man who 
had been so much in my 
thoughts standing there 
on my threshold. His 
appearance was quite 
familiar to me. He is 
extremely tall and thin, 
his forehead domes out in 
a white curve, and his two 
eyes are deeply sunken in 
his head. He is clean- 
shaven, pale, and ascetic- 
looking, retaining some- 
thing of the professor in 
his features. His shoulders 
are rounded from much 
study, and his face pro- 
trudes forward, and is for 
ever slowly oscillating 
from side to side in a 
curiously reptilian fashion. 
He peered at me with 
great curiosity in his 
puckered eyes. 

" ' You have less 
frontal development than " professor moriarty stood before me." 


I should have expected,' said he at last. ' It is a dangerous habit to 
finger loaded firearms in the pocket of one's dressing-gown.' 

" The fact is that upon his entrance I had instantly recognised the 
extreme personal danger in which I lay. The only conceivable 
escape for him lay in silencing my tongue. In an instant I had 
slipped the revolver from the drawer into my pocket, and was 
covering him through the cloth. At his remark I drew the weapon 
out and laid it cocked upon the table. He still smiled and blinked, 
but there was something about his eyes which made me feel very glad 
that I had it there. 

" ' You evidently don't know me,' said he. 

" ' On the contrary,' I answered, ' I think it is fairly evident that 
I do. Pray take a chair. I can spare you five minutes if you have 
anything to say.' 

" ' All that I have to say has already cros.sed your mind,' said he. 

" ' Then possibly my answer has crossed yours,' I replied. 

" ' You stand fast ? ' 

" ' Absolutely.' 

" He clapped his hand into his pocket, and I raised the pistol from 
the table. But he merely drew out a memorandum-book in which he 
had scribbled some dates. 

" ' You crossed my path on the 4th of January,' said he. ' On 
the 23rd you incommoded me ; by the middle of February I was 
seriously inconvenienced by you ; at the end of March I was absolutely 
hampered in m}- plans ; and now, at the close of April, I find myself 
placed in such a position through your continual persecution that I am 
in positive danger or losing m}- libert}-. The situation is becoming 
an impossible one.' 

" ' Have you any suggestion to make ? ' I asked. 

" ' You must drop it, Mr. Holmes,' said he, swaying his face about. 
' You rcall}- must, you know.' 

" ' After Monday,' said I. 

'"Tut, tut!' said he. 'I am quite sure that a man of your 
intelligence will sec that there can be but one outcome to this affair_ 
It is necessary that you should withdraw. You have worked things 
in such a fashion that we have only one resource left. It has been an 
intellectual treat to me to see the way in which you have grappled 


with this affair, and I say, unaffectedly, that it would be a j]^rief to me 
to be forced to take any extreme measure. You smile, sir, but I 
assure you that it really would.' 

" ' Danger is part of my trade,' I remarked. 

" ' This is not danger,' said he. ' It is inevitable destruction. You 
stand in the way not merely of an individual, but of a mighty 
organization, the full extent of which you, with all N'our cleverness, 
have been unable to realize. You must stand clear, Mr. Holmes, or 
be trodden under foot.' 

" ' I am afraid,' said T, rising, ' that in the pleasure of this con- 
versation I am neglecting business of importance which awaits mc 

" He ro.sie also and looked at me in silence, shaking his head 

"'Well, well,' said he at last. 'It seems a pit}% but I have done 
what I could. I know every move of )'our garhe. You can do 
nothing before Monday. It has been a duel between }'ou and mc, 
Mr. Holmes. You hope to place me in the dock. I tell you that I 
will never stand in the dock. You hope to beat me. I tell you that 
you will never beat me. If you are clever enough to bring destruc- 
tion upon me, rest assured that I shall do as much to you.' 

" 'You have paid me several compliments, Mr. Moriarty,' said I. 
' Let me pay you one in return when I say that if I were assured of 
the former eventuality I would, in the interests of the public, cheer- 
fully accept the latter.' 

" ' I can promise }-ou the one but not the other,' he snarled, and 
so turned his rounded back upon me and went peering and blinking 
out of the room. 

"That was my singular interview v/ith Professor Moriart}'. I 
confess that it left an unpleasant effect upon my mind. His soft, fashion of speech leaves a con\iction of sincerit}- which a mere 
bully could not produce., you will say: 'Why not take 
police precautions against him ? ' The reason is that I am well 
convinced that it is from his agents the blow would fall. I have 
the best of proofs that it would be so." 

" You have already been assaulted ? " 

" My dear Watson, Professor Moriarty is not a man who lets the 




grass grow under his feet. I went out about midday to transact some 
business in Oxford Street. As I passed the corner which leads from 
Ben-tinck Street on to the Welbeck Street crossing a two-horse van 
furiously driven whizzed round and was on me like a flash. I sprang 
for the footpath and saved myself by the fraction of a second. The 
van dashed round by Marylebone Lane and was gone in an instant. 
I kept to the pavement after that, Watson, but as I walked down 
Vere Street a brick came down from the roof of one of the houses, and 
was shattered to fragments at my feet. I called the police and had 
the place examined. There were slates and bricks piled upon the 
roof preparatory to some repairs, and they would have me believe that 
the wind had toppled over one of these. Of course I knew better, but 
I could prove nothing. 1 look a cab after that and reached my 
brother's rooms in Pall Mall, where I spent the (la\-. Now I 


have come round to you, and on my way I was attacked by a rough 
with a bludgeon. I knocked him down, and the poHce have him in 
custody ; but I can tell you with the most absolute confidence that no 
possible connection will ever be traced between the gentleman upon 
whose front teeth I have barked my knuckles and the retiring mathe- 
matical coach, who is, I daresay, working out problems upon a black- 
board ten miles away. You will not wonder, Watson, that my first 
act on entering your rooms was to close your shutters, and that I 
have been compelled to ask your permission to leave the house by 
some kss conspicuous exit than the front door." 

I had often admired my friend's courage, but never more than 
now, as he sat quietly checking off a series of incidents which must 
have combined to make up a day of horror. 

" You will spend the night here ? " I said. 

" No, my friend ; you might find me a dangerous guest. I have 
my plans laid, and all will be well. Matters have gone so f^ir now 
that they can move witliout my help as far as the arrest goes, though 
my presence is necessary for a conviction. It is obvious, therefore, 
that I cannot do better than get away for the few days which remain 
before the police are at liberty to act. It would be a great pleasure 
to me, therefore, if you could come on to the Continent with me." 

"The practice is quiet," said I, "and I have an accommodating 
neighbour. I should be glad to come." 

" And to start to-morrow morning ? '"' 

"If necessary." 

" Oh, yes, it is most necessary. Then these are your instructions, 
and I beg, my dear Watson, that you will obey them to the letter, 
for you are now playing a double-handed game with me against the 
cleverest rogue and the most powerful syndicate of criminals in 
Europe. Now listen ! You will dispatch whatever luggage you 
intend to take by a trusty messenger unaddressed to Victoria 
to-night. In the morning you will send for a hansom, desiring 
your man to take neither the first nor the second which may 
present itself Into this hansom you will jump, and you will drive 
to the Strand end of the Lowther Arcade, handing the address 
to the cabman upon a slip of paper, with a request that he will not 
throw it awa}'. Have your fare ready, and the instant that your cab 


stops, dash through the Arcade, timing yourself to reach the other 
side at a quarter-past nine. You will find a small brougham waiting 
close to the curb, driven by a fellow with a heavy black cloak tipped 
at the collar with red. Into this you will step, and you will reach 
Victoria in time for the Continental express.'' 

" Where shall I meet you ? " 

" At the station. The second first-class carriage from the front 
will be reserv'ed for us." 

" The carriage is our rendezvous, then ? " 

" Yes." 

It was in vain that I asked Holmes to remain for the evening. 
It was evident to me that he thought he might bring trouble to the 
roof he was under, and that that was the motive which impelled 
him to go. With a few hurried words as to our plans for the morrow 
he rose and came out with me into the garden, clambering over the 
wall which leads into Mortimer Street, and immediately whistling for 
a hansom, in which I heard him drive away. 

In the morning I obeyed Holmes's injunctions to the letter. A 
hansom was procured with such precautions as would prevent its being- 
one which was placed ready for us, and I drove immediately after 
breakfast to the Lowther Arcade, through which I hurried at the top 
of my speed. A brougham was waiting with a very massive driver 
wrapped in a dark cloak, who, the instant that I had stepped in, 
whipped up the horse and rattled off to Victoria Station. On my 
alighting there he turned the carriage, and dashed away again with- 
out .so much as a look in my direction. 

So far all had gone admirabl)-. My luggage was waiting 
for me, and I had no difficulty in finding the carriage which 
Holmes had indicated, the less so as it was the only one 
in the train which was marked " Engaged." My only source 
of anxiety ncnv was the non-appearance of Holmes. The 
station clock marked only seven minutes from the time when we were 
due to start. In vain I searched among the groups of travellers and 
leave-takers for the lithe figure of my friend. There was no sign of 
him. I spent a few minutes in assisting a venerable Italian priest, 
who was endeavouring to make a porter understand, in his broken 
English, that his luggage was to be booked through to Paris. Then, 



having taken another look round, I returned to my carriage, where I 
found that the porter, in spite of the ticket, had given me my decrepit 
ItaHan friend as a travelhng companion. It was useless for me to 


explain to him that his presence was an intrusion, for my Italian was 
even more limited than his English, so I shrugged my shoulders 
resignedly, and continued to look out anxiously for my friend. A 


chill of fear had come over me, as I thought that his absence might 
mean that some blow had fallen during the night. Already the doors 
had all been shut and the whistle blown, when — — 

" My dear Watson," said a voice, " you have not even con- 
descended to say good morning." 

I turned in incontrollable astonishment. The aged ecclesiastic 
had turned his face towards me. For an instant the wrinkles were 
smoothed away, the nose drew away from the chin, the lower lip 
ceased to protrude and the mouth to mumble, the dull e)'es regained 
their fire, the drooping figure expanded. The next the whole frame 
collapsed again, and Holmes had gone as quickly as he had come. 

" Good heavens ! " I cried. " How you startled mc ! " 

" Every precaution is still necessar}-," he whispered. " I have 
reason to think that they are hot upon our trail. Ah, there is 
Moriarty himself" 

The train had already begun to move as Holmes spoke. Glancing 
back I saw a tall man pushing his way furiously through the crowd 
and waving his hand as if he desired to have the train stopped. It 
was too late, however, for we were rapidly gathering momentum, and 
an instant later had shot clear of the station. 

" With all our precautions, you see that we have cut it rather fine," 
said Holmes, laughing. He rose, and throwing off the black cassock 
and hat which had formed his disguise, he packed them away in a 

" Have you seen the morning paper, Watson ? " 

" No." 

" You haven't seen about Baker Street, then ? " 

" Baker Street ? " 

" They set fire to our rooms last night. No great harm was 


" Good heavens. Holmes ! This is intolerable." 

" They must have lost my track completely after their bludgeon- 
man was arrested. Otherwise they could not have imagined that I 
had returned to my rooms. They have evidently taken the precaution 
of watching you, however, and that is what has brought Moriarty to 
Victoria. You could not have made any slip in coming?" 

" I did exactly what you advised." 


" Did you find your brougham ? " 

"Yes, it was waiting." 

" Did you recognise your coachman ? " 

" No." 

" It was my brother M}'croft. It is an advantage to get about in 
such a case without taking a mercenary into your confidence. But 
we must plan what we are to do about Moriarty now." 

" As this is an express, and as the boat runs in connection with 
it, I should think we have shaken him off very effectively." 

" My dear Watson, you evidently did not realize my meaning 
when I said that this man may be taken as being quite on the same 
intellectual plane as myself. You do not imagine that if I were the 
pursuer I should allow myself to be baffled by so slight an obstacle. 
Why, then, should you think so meanly of him ? " 

" What will he do ? " 

" What I should do." 

" What would you do, then ? " 

" Engage a special." 

" But it must be late." 

" By no means. This train stops at Canterbury ; and there is 
always at least a quarter of an hour's delay at the boat. He will 
♦catch us there." 

" One would think that we were the criminals. Let us have him 
arrested on his arrival." 

"It would be to ruin the work of three months. We should get 
the big fish, but the smaller would dart right and left out of the net. 
On Monday we should have them all. No, an arrest is inadmissible." 

" What then ? " 

" We shall get out at Canterbury." 

" And then ? " 

" Well, then we must make a cross-country journey to Newhaven, 
and so over to Dieppe. Moriarty will again do what I should do. 
He will get on to Paris, mark down our luggage, and wait for two 
days at the depot. In the meantime we shall treat ourselves to a 
couple of carpet bags, encourage the manufactures of the countries 
through which we travel, and make our way at our leisure into 
Switzerland, via Luxembourg and Basle." 


I am too old a traveller to allow myself to be seriously inconveni- 
enced by the loss of my luggage, but I confess that I was annoyed at 
the idea of being forced to dodge and hide before a man whose record 
was black with unutterable infamies. It was evident, however, that 
Holmes understood the situation more clearly than I did. At Canter- 
bury, therefore, we alighted, only to find that we should have to wait 
an hour before we could get a train to Newhaven. 

I was still looking rather ruefully after the rapidly disappearing 
luggage van which contained my wardrobe, when Holmes pulled my 
sleeve and pointed up the line. 

" Already, you see," said he. 

Far away from among the Kentish woods there rose a thin 
spray of smoke. A minute later a carriage and engine could be seen 
flying along the open curve which leads to the station. We had 
hardly time to take our place behind a pile of luggage when it passed 
with a rattle and a roar, beating a blast of hot air into our faces. 

"There he goes," said Holmes, as we watched the carriage swing 
and rock over the points. " There are limits, you see, to our friend's 
intelligence. It would have been a coup-de-inaitre had he deduced 
what I would deduce and acted accordingly." 

" And what would he have done had he overtaken us ? " 

" There cannot be the least doubt that he would have made a 
murderous attack upon me. It is, however, a game at which two may 
play. The question now is whether we should take a premature 
lunch here, or run our chance of starving before we reach the buffet 
at Newhaven." 

We made our way to Brussels that night and spent two days 
there, moving on upon the third day as far as Strasburg. On the 
Monday morning Holmes had telegraphed to the London police, 
and in the evening we found a reply waiting for us at our hotel. 
Holmes tore it open, and then with a bitter curse hurled it into the 

'•' I might have known it," he groaned. " He has escaped ! " 

" Moriarty ! " 

" They have secured the whole gang with the exception of him. 
He has given them the slij). Of course, when I had left the country 
there was no one to cope with him. But I did think that I had put 



the game in their hands. I think that you had better return to 
England, Watson." 

" Why ? " 

" Because you will find me a dangerous companion now. This 
man's occupation is gone. He is lost if he returns to London. If I 

\ \"\ 



read his character right he will devote his whole energies to revenging 
himself upon me. He said as much in our short interview, and I 
fancy that he meant it. I should certainly recommend you to return 
to your practice." 

It was hardly an appeal to be successful with one who was an old 
campaigner as well as an old friend. We sat in the Strasburg salle-d- 


manger arguing the question for half an hour, but the same night we 
had resumed our journey and were well on our way to Geneva. 

For a charming week we wandered up the Valley of the Rhone, 
and then, branching off at Leuk, we made our way over the Gemmi 
Pass, still deep in snow, and so, by way of Interlaken, to Meiringen. 
It was a lovely trip, the dainty green of the spring below, the virgin 
white of the winter above ; but it was clear to me that never for one 
instant did Holmes forget the shadow which lay across him. In the 
homely Alpine villages or in the lonely mountain passes, I could still 
tell, by his quick glancing eyes and his sharp scrutiny of every face 
that passed us, that he was well convinced that, walk where we would, 
we could not walk ourselves clear of the danrer which was dosfeinFf 


Once, I remember, as we passed over the Gemmi, and walked 
along the border of the melancholy Daubensee, a large rock which 
had been dislodged from the ridge upon our right clattered down and 
roared into the lake behind us. In an instant Holmes had raced up 
on to the ridge, and, standing upon a lofty pinnacle, craned his neck 
in every direction. It was in vain that our guide assured him that" a 
fall of stones was a common chance in the spring-time at that spot. 
He said nothing, but he smiled at me with the air of a man who sees 
the fulfilment of that which he had expected. 

And yet for all his watchfulness he was never depressed. On the 
contrary, I can never recollect having seen him in such exuberant 
spirits. Again and again he recurred to the fact that if he could be 
assured that society was freed from Professor Moriarty, he would 
cheerfully bring his own career to a conclusion. 

" I think that I may go so far as to say, Watson, that I have not 
lived wholly in vain," he remarked. "If my record were closed 
to-night I could still survey it with equanimity. The air of London is 
the sweeter for my presence. In over a thousand cases I am not 
aware that I have ever used my powers upon the wrong side. Of late 
I have been tempted to look into the problems furnished by Nature 
rather than those more superficial ones for which our artificial state of 
society is responsible. Your memoirs will draw to an end, Watson, 
upon the day that I crown my career by the capture or extinction of 
the most dangerous and capable criminal in Europe." 




I shall be brief, and yet exact, in the little which remains for me 
to tell. It is not a subject on which I would willingly dwell, and yet 
I am conscious that a duty devolves upon me to omit no detail. 

It was upon the 3rd of May that we reached the little village of 

Meiringen, where we put up at the Englischer Hof, then kept by 

Peter Steiler the elder. Our landlord was an intelligent man, and 

spoke excellent English, having served for three years as waiter at the 

Grosvenor Hotel in London. At his advice, upon the afternoon of 

the 4th we set off together with the intention of crossing the hills and 

spending the night at the hamlet of Rosenlaui. We had strict 

injunctions, however, on no account to pass the falls of Reichenbach, 

which are about half-way up the hill, without making a small detour 

to see them. 



It is, indeed, a fearful place. The torrent, swollen by the melting 
snow, plunges into a tremendous abyss, from which the spray rolls up 
like the smoke from a burning house. The shaft into which the river 
hurls itself is an immense chasm, lined by glistening, coal-black rock, 
and narrowing into a creaming, boiling pit of incalculable depth, which 
brims over and shoots the stream onward over its jagged lip. The 
long sweep of green water roaring for ever down, and the thick 
flickering curtain of spray hissing for ever upwards, turn a man giddy 
with their constant whirl and clamour. We stood near the edge 
peering down at the gleam of the breaking water far below us against 
the black rocks, and listening to the half-human shout which came 
booming up with the spray out of the abyss. 

The path has been cut half-way round the fall to afford a com- 
plete view, but it ends abruptl)', and the traveller has to return as he 
came. We had turned to do so, when we saw a Swiss lad come 
running along it with a letter in his hand. It bore the mark of the 
hotel which we had just left, and was addressed to me by the 
landlord. It appeared that within a very few minutes of our leaving, 
an English lady had arrived who was in the last stage of consump- 
tion. She had wintered at Davos Platz, and was journeying now 
to join her friends at Lucerne, when a sudden hemorrhage had 
overtaken her. It was thought that she could hardly live a few 
hours, but it would be a great consolation to her to see an English 
doctor, and, if I would only return, etc., etc. The good Steiler 
assured me in a postscript that he would himself look upon my 
compliance as a very great favour, since the lady absolutely refused 
to see a Swiss physician, and he could not but feel that he was in- 
curring a great responsibility. 

The appeal was one which could not be ignored. It was im- 
possible to refuse the request of a fellow-countrywoman dying in a 
strange land. Yet I had my scruples about leaving Holmes. It was 
finally agreed, however, that he should retain the young Swiss 
messenger with him as guide and companion while I returned to 
Meiringen. My friend would stay some little time at the fall, he said, 
and would then walk slowly over the hill to Rosenlaui, where I was to 
rejoin him in the evening. As I turned away I saw Holmes with his 
back against a rock and his arms folded, gazing down at the rush of 

*t>"-"'-^"- " ■---■- ^A..... ..... ........ .w.v^v,V.., j_^.W.,..^ 



> Ml «. 


the waters. It was the last that I was ever destined to see of him in 
this world. 

When I was near the bottom of the descent I looked back. It 
was impossible, from that position, to see the fall, but I could see the 
curving path which winds over the shoulder of the hill and leads to it. 


Along this a man was, I remember, walking \-ery rapidl}'. I could see 
his black figure clearly outlined against the green behind him. I noted 
him, and the energy with which he walked, but he passed from my 
mind again as I hurried on upon my errand. 

It may have been a little over an hour before I reached Meiringen. 
Old Steiler was standing at the porch of his hotel. 

" Well," said I, as I came hurrying up, " I trust that she is no 
worse ? " 

A look of surprise passed over his face, and at the first quiver of 
his eyebrows my heart turned to lead in my breast. 

" You did not write this ? " I said, pulling the letter from my 
pocket. " There is no sick Englishwoman in the hotel ? " 

" Certainly not," he cried. " But it has the hotel mark upon it ! 
Ha ! it must have been written b}' that tall Englishman who came in 
after you had gone. He said " 

But I waited for none of the landlord's explanations. In a 
tingle of fear I was already running down the village street, and 
making for the path which I had so lately descended. It had taken 
me an hour to come down. For all my efforts, two more had 
passed before I found myself at the fall of Reichenbach once more. 
There was Holmes's Alpine-stock still leaning against the rock by 
which I had left him. But there was no sign of him, and it was in 
vain that I shouted. My only answer was my own voice reverber- 
ating in a rolling echo from the cliffs around me. 

It was the sight of that Alpine-stock which turned me cold and 
sick. He had not gone to Rosenlaui, then. He had remained on 
that three-foot path, with sheer wall on one side and sheer drop upon 
the other, until his enemy had overtaken him. The young Swiss 
had gone too. He had probably been in the pay of Moriarty, and 
had left the t^\'o men together. And then what had happened ? 
Who was to tell us what had happened then ? 

I stood for a minute or two to collect myself, for I was dazed 
with the horror of the thing. Then I began to think of Holmes's own 
methods and to try to practise them in reading this tragedy. It was,' 
alas ! only too easy to do. During our conversation we had not gone 
to the end of the path, and the Alpine-stock marked the place where 
we had stood. The blackish soil is kept for ever soft b)- the incessant 


drift of spra}', and a bird would leave its tread upon it. Two lines of 
footmarks were clearly marked along the further end of the path, 
both leading away from me. There were none returning. A few 
yards from the end the soil was all ploughed up into a patch of mud, 
and the brambles and ferns which fringed the chasm were torn and 
bedraggled. I la}- upon my face and peered over, with the spray 
spouting up all around me. It had darkened since 1 left, and now I 
could only see here and there the glistening of moisture upon the 
black walls, and far away down at the end of the shaft the gleam of 
the broken water. I shouted ; but onl}' that same half-human cry of 
the fall was borne back to m\' ears. 

But it was destined that I should after all have a last word of 
greeting from m\- friend and comrade. . I have said that his Alpine- 
stock had been left leaning against a rock which jutted on to the path. 
From the top of this boulder the gleam of something bright caught 
my eye, and, raising my hand, I found that it came from the silver 
cigarette case which he used to carry. As I took it up a small square 
of paper upon which it had lain fluttered down on to the ground. 
Unfolding it I found that it consisted of three pages torn from his 
note-book and addressed to me. It was characteristic of the man 
that the direction was as precise, and the writing as firm and clear, as 
though it had been written in his study. 

" My dear Watson," he said, " I write these few lines through the 
courtesy of Mr. Moriarty, who awaits my convenience for the final 
discussion of those questions w^hich lie between us. He has been 
giving me a sketch of the methods by which he avoided the English 
police and kept himself informed of our movements. They certainly 
confirm the very high opinion which I had formed of his abilities. I 
am pleased to think that I shall be able to free society from any 
further effects of his presence, though I fear that it is at a cost which 
will give pain to m}' friends, and especially, my dear Watson, to 
you. I have already explained to you, however, that my 
career had in an\' case reached its crisis, and that no 
possible conclusion to it could be more congenial to me than 
this. Indeed, if I may make a full confession to you, I was 
quite convinced that the letter from Meiringen was a hoax, and I 
allowed you to depart on that errand under the persuasion that some 



A'' i 



development of this sort would follow. Tell Inspector Patterson 
that the papers which he needs to convict the gang are in pigeon-hole 
M., done up in a blue envelope and inscribed ' Moriarty.' I 
made every disposition of my property before leaving England, and 
handed it to my brother Mycroft. Pray give my greetings to Mrs. 
Watson, and believe me to be, my dear fellow, 

" Ver}' sincerely }'ours, 

" Sherlock Holmes." 


A few words may suffice to tell the little that remains. An 
examination by experts leaves little doubt that a personal contest 
between the two men ended, as it could hardly fail to end in such a 
situation, in their reeli:ig over, locked in each other's arms. Any 
attempt at recovering the bodies was absolutely hopeless, and there, 
deep down in that dreadful caldron of swirling water and seething 
foam, will lie for all time the most dangerous criminal and the fore- 
most champion of the law of their generation. The Swiss youth was 
never found again, and there can be no doubt that he was one of the 
numerous agents whom Moriarty kept in his employ. As to the 
gang, it will be within the memory of the public how completely the 
evidence which Holmes had accumulated exposed their organization, 
and how heavily the hand of the dead man weighed upon them. Of 
their terrible chief few details came out during the proceedings, and if 
I have now been compelled to make a clear statement of his career, it 
is due to those injudicious champions who have endeavoured to clear 
his memory by attacks upon him whom I shall ever regard as the best 
and the wisest man whom I have ever known. 







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